Hundreds of farmers from Uttar Pradesh stayed put near the DND flyway, at the junction of Noida and Delhi, on Saturday demanding enhanced compensation in lieu of their land acquired before 2013.
The Delhi-Noida-Direct flyway, a crucial route connecting UP and Delhi, was shut briefly on Friday evening as farmers from western UP districts protested on the route, throwing traffic movement out of gear.
The rally, organised by Kisan Uday Abhiyan, led by Manveer Teotia, included farmers from Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Aligarh and Meerut.
Many of them were women from villages with their heads covered. The women had their hands raised and tied with a piece of cloth in a symbolic gesture expressing helplessness.
"We are here to demand that we be given compensation in accordance with the law on land acquisition that was passed in Parliament in 2013. Our lands were acquired prior to that and we have been left out from the benefits as doled out under the new law," Kaale Singh from Bhatta Parsaul village of Gautam Buddh Nagar told PTI.
He said the farmers want local authorities and administrations to take up the matter with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but nothing fruitful has happened so far, hence the protest.
"Yesterday we tried to go to Delhi but were stopped midway, so we decided to stay put near the DND. We won't budge unless we get a satisfactory response from top officials," he said.
Gautam Buddh Nagar District Magistrate B N Singh met the farmers Saturday morning and assured them he would take up the matter with the state government. But Kaale Singh said the "protestors remained dissatisfied with the assurance".
The protest organisers claimed there were 1,500 farmers at the DND Saturday morning. Other reports, however, said a little over 500 people were protesting at the site.
Two policemen and two farmers were killed in clashes in May 2011 following protests over acquisition of land in Greater Noida's Bhatta Parsaul, the Jat-dominated village which had become the epicentre of protests of land acquisitions in the country.
Two years since that upheaval, the country had got the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (also Land Acquisition Act, 2013).
The new law was aimed at providing “fair compensation” to those whose land is taken away, brings transparency to the process of acquisition of land to set up factories or buildings, infrastructure projects and assures rehabilitation of those affected.