Friday, June 3, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Mayawati counters Rahul Gandhi with new land policy

Mayawati counters Rahul Gandhi with new land policy

Anant Zanane, Updated: June 03, 2011 00:37 IST

Lucknow: It was, for Uttar Pradesh, a Kodak moment. A group of 60
farmers pulled into the UP Assembly in a Volvo and were greeted by
Chief Minister Mayawati who spent the afternoon with them.

Mayawati's attempt to make nice comes after four people were killed
during a weekend in May when farmers and the police opened fire in the
villages of Bhatta and Parsaul in Greater Noida. Farmers were upset
over their land being acquired for public projects and then being sold
to real estate companies after a considerable mark-up by the
government. The shape of the protest shifted when Rahul Gandhi spent
the day with farmers and was arrested by the state government before
being led back across the border to Delhi. Mayawati fumed as Mr Gandhi
walked away with headlines and the apparent goodwill of many families
that he encountered.

Stung, Mayawati today announced a whole new policy on land
acquisition. "The government will no longer acquire land from farmers.
It will just act as a facilitator," she clarified. So commercial
developers will have to talk directly to farmers whose land they want
and work out the compensation with them. If 70 per cent of the farmers
in an area don't want to hand over their land, the state government
will consider cancelling the project being developed by real the
estate company. And if a group of farmers don't want to sell, they
will be given 23 per cent of the land after it's been commercially

However, the farmers of Bhatta, Parsaul and other areas that have
already handed over their land will not benefit from the new
guidelines. Mayawati's announcement today is carefully timed - land
acquisition for most of the significant projects in UP has already
been completed. So her new policy will not likely be tested before the
state votes for its next government next year.

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