Land acquisition not at cost of fertile land : Sonia Gandhi

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New Delhi, Sep 9 (ANI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday reacting to the verdict of the Supreme Court that endorsed the Mayawati Government's acquisition of 25 million square metres of land along the six-lane Yamuna Expressway Project connecting New Delhi to Agra and Mathura, said land acquisition should not result in loss of fertile land.

"We must protect the environment to ensure sustainable development. In whatever we do, we should not forget forest and environment. Farmers should be provided adequate compensation," said Sonia Gandhi.

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi had earlier proposed to make the draft land acquisition Bill more effective so that it is well-received by both India Inc and the farmer community.

The apex court bench of Justices VS Sirpurkar and Cyriac Joseph took a leaf from the Allahabad High Court verdict of November 30, 2009 - which dismissed the challenge of 35 landowners against land acquisition - to explain its own judgment on Wednesday.

"The scales of justice must tilt towards the right to development of the millions who will be benefited from the road and the development of the area, as against the human rights of 35 petitioners (landowners) herein," the apex court bench observed.

The verdict came nine years after the Uttar Pradesh Government decided to construct the 160-km expressway in 2001 at an estimated cost of 350 million dollars. (ANI)

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