Farmers protested against the proposed 12.5km bypass which passes through fertile lands of Halaga, Belagavi, Old Belagavi, Vadgaon, Shahapur, Angol, Majgaon and Macche.
A group of farmers protested at the DC office on Friday. The farmers alleged that the government machinery is utilizing police to forcefully acquire their fertile lands.
Agitating farmers had brought soil from their agricultural land said they cannot survive if their fertile lands are taken away. They alleged that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has not taken them in confidence nor completed necessary legal procedures before acquiring their lands. Farmers threaten to end life if the NHAI continues the work in their fields.
The New Indian Express reports, the agitators said planning of the bypass has been done only to ensure that it would favor a few elected public representatives. “This is the reason why the width of the bypass stretch is less while passing through lands of public representatives. The NHAI should be impartial while implementing the project and maintain the same width of the road all through, right from the start to the end”.
In the year 2011, the notification in connection to this was issued to farmers in which as many as 135 acres of land was supposed to be acquired for the project. The farmers had opposed the work of bypass during that span. Later in January 2019, notification of an extra 25 acres land was served to the farmers for the same project. However, NHAI officials commenced the work early.
Surekha Shankar Balekundri said acquiring our land is equivalent to slow poisoning us. Instead of doing this, kill us right now and immediately. She was protesting in front of DC’s office — with a rope around her neck to get hang self. She warned that rather than allowing acquisition of her fertile land, she will prefer to die.
TNIE, reports Surekha was one among the agitators who were protesting against the Halaga-Macche bypass project. Speaking to Express, she said that as much as 5 acres of her land are being acquired by NHAI. If it succeeds in doing so, nothing will be left with her, she said. She added, if her fertile land is affected in this project, there will be no source of income for her family’s survival. Let the district administration or NHAI hang me, she demanded. Renuka Balekundri, another agitator warned, “If any JCB or truck runs in our fields, we will jump under their wheels and kill ourselves. At any cost, we will not allow the bypass work to continue by acquiring our fertile land.”