Congress acquired land, compensated farmer who committed suicide at Mantralaya
Hours after opposition parties created a furore over the death of 84-year-old farmer Dharma Patil, it has emerged that his land was actually acquired under the Congress government for the construction of a thermal power plant.
The octogenarian from Dhule district had consumed rat poison at Mantralaya last week to protest against the alleged lesser compensation paid by the government for his land. He died at the JJ Hospital on Sunday night.
Family demands justice
Earlier on Monday, Patil’s autopsy was performed and the body handed over to his family but they refused to take it unless a written assurance of additional value for the land was given by the government.
“I will not accept my father’s body until the state government accepts our demands. I am not going to accept my father’s body because we have been fighting against the injustice done to us,” Dharma’s son Narendra Patil told reporters.
“We were denied proper compensation by the state authorities for the land acquisition. Except us, everybody in our neighbourhood whose land had been acquired was given higher compensation. Why was there such a disparity?” Narendra asked.
Opposition attacks state government
The Congress was at the forefront while attacking the government, terming Patil’s suicide “a murder” by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine.
“The man had come seeking compensation for his land which was taken at a throwaway price of around Rs 400,000, while others in the neigbourhood were compensated in crores of rupees,” Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan was quoted saying.
“Messed up loan waiver, non-remunerative farm prices and cruel land acquisition with unfair compensation has ended another precious life,” Chavan said, demanding a judicial probe into the matter.
Congress struck deal for Patil’s land
According to the data received from official sources in the Maharashtra Government, the first proposal for acquiring his farm was done on May 8, 2009 when the Congress party was in power in the state.
The records further reveal that it was under Congress government in September 2011 that his land measurement was done.
Nine months later, the first notification was issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, while final inspection of the land was done in October of the same year. The last notification was issued on February 26, 2014.
Nearly seven months before the BJP came to power in the state, the objections and hearing on the land was done in April 2014, and the compensation was duly accepted by Patil.
His family, thus, did not take the legal recourse over the land compensation amount.
Minister assures re-evaluation
According to the Land Acquisition Act, the government cannot make any changes in the compensation amount if the process is completed and the compensation is received by the affected person(s).
Official sources at Maharashtra Mantralay deny the claims that the deceased farmer’s neighbouring plots were compensated in crores of rupees.
The data reveals that two neighbouring plots were awarded Rs 4,34,720 and Rs 4,40,440 respectively.
However, as the issue appeared to snowball into a major controversy, Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule assured that the government will re-evaluate the value of land and compensate the family with interest in the next 30 days.
With agency inputs