The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) on Monday extended its support to farmers whose land was acquired for phase 4 of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME) project. These farmers from 26 villages in Ghaziabad have been campaigning for several years for an equal rate of land compensation and are also demanding a service road along the highway from Modinagar to Mohiuddinpur.
Phase 4 of the DME is 32 km long and links Dasna to Ghaziabad to Meerut.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, who leads the farmers’ protest at the UP gate in Ghaziabad against the three new Central Farm Laws, addressed a rally of around 800 farmers in a panchayat near the DME toll booth in Bhojpur.
“We have been protesting against farm laws for nine months. We will also support farmers in 26 villages and pursue their demands for equal land compensation and service road. You (the farmers) must continue the fight against the UP government and must “treat” them when they come for votes, ”Tikait said, addressing the panchayat.
“This fight will be continued and this road (DME) will help us to carry out our fight (of the demand for the annulment of three agricultural laws) in different parts of the country. This region (western UP) has always helped us in our agitation. We will meet, along with the farmers concerned, the NHAI officials and the district administration officials, ”he added.
Officials from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said they had no problem if farmers came to discuss the issues raised on Monday. “The land compensation was awarded in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act. The highway manual guidelines were followed for the DME and there is no service road near the highway, ”said Mudit Garg, project manager, NHAI.
Ghaziabad district magistrate RK Singh was not available to comment on the matter.
Phase 4, along with Phase 2 (UP Gate to Dasna), opened to the public in April of this year. According to NHAI estimates, the six-lane Phase 4 from Ghaziabad to Meerut is used by around 40,000 passenger car units per day.
Since November last year, hundreds of farmers have continued their agitation at the UP Gate protest site, demanding the overturn of three new farm laws and seeking a new minimum support price law.