Belagavi: Farmers attempt suicide in stir against road work

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KEY STORY

  • A farmers’ protest against acquisition of their fertile land for a road project between Halaga and Mache, on the outskirts of Belagavi city, turned violent after some of the protesters tried to commit suicide and one of them attempted self-immolation.
  • As soon as farmer Akash Angolkar set himself on fire during the protest, several protesters came to his rescue and doused the fire. According to sources, Angolkar has sustained at least 20 per cent burns and is being treated at a local hospital.
  • Several other farmers also tried to commit suicide by using sickles and climbing trees, but they were stopped by the police. When the situation slipped out of control during the protest, the police took many of the protesting farmers into custody.

Won’t let go of land for road’

The protesting farmers vowed to sacrifice their lives but not allow the government to acquire their fertile lands for the road work. However, the local authorities, including National Highways Authority of India officials, allegedly destroyed standing crops on their fields on Thursday to facilitate the road work.
According to sources, the government acquired 134 acres for a 9.5-km bypass road between Halaga and Mache. A part of the land acquired for the work is said to be fertile, which has enraged a section of the affected farmers. The protest was launched at Mache village on Thursday when the project work was being taken up in the fields where there was standing sugarcane crop, ready for harvest.
The farmers alleged that the authorities had changed the blueprint of the project, to protect land belonging to influential people, and were not taking up the road work as per the original plan. However, the local authorities denied the farmers’ allegations and said they were implementing the road project as per the original blueprint.
Amit Angolkar, a farmer who had climbed a tree and threatened to commit suicide by jumping, later said, “We have three acres of fertile land and we will not let it go under any circumstances for the road work. While the actual market price of my land is Rs 8 lakh per acre, the government is paying a measly Rs 1.5 lakh per acre. But I don’t want money and neither do I want to sell my land. If my two-acre land is acquired, it is not possible for our family to survive on only one acre.’’
Ready for harvest
The protest was launched at Mache on Thursday when the project work was being taken up in the fields where standing crop was ready for harvest

 

 

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