Farmers are protesting again for their compensation demand from January 7th, 2020. They said in 2017, JDA made us call off the protest, lathi-charged us and put us in jail. This time farmers are quite stringent and said they will not leave their protest till the demands are met said by Nagendra Singh Shekhawat (42), had dug himself chest-deep in soil. He was not alone but along with him, four others too had dug themselves chest-deep in soil and all other villagers were looking upon them.
After two years of their previous protest, they have decided to this unique form of protest against Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) moving to acquire their land, farmers of Nindar village along Jaipur-Sikar highway are protesting again, when the JDA restarted getting hold of the land from January 1st, 2020. The farmers are demanding that they want compensation as per the 2014 law while the JDA is offering them 2010 rates.
The matter of land acquisition started in 2017 and farmers too started protesting in October 2017, at that time an agreement had reached between the farmers and JDA, under the Vasundhara Raje government. However, soon after, JDA moved to acquire their land and when they protested, five of them were put in jail for 10 days said by the farmers.
However, in January 2019, a memorandum was given to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, considering that JDA will take us into confidence before moving forward on the Nindar Housing scheme said by Shekhawat, convenor of Nindar Bachao Yuva Kisan Sangharsh Samiti. Things were going calm since January 2019 to date but all of a sudden from January 1st, 2020, JDA restarted land acquisition on January 1 and then they had started the protest from January 7th, 2020.
Shekhawat demanded that they want compensation as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, which came into force on January 1, 2014. As the JDA did not pay them the declared amount and farmers had not surrendered their land and JDA was yet to pay. Hence the new law should be applied for the land acquisition said by Shekhawat. Right now, they are applying 2010 district lease committee rates and the year is 2020, which is not justified.
This law was brought by the Congress government at the Centre and when the Narendra Modi government tried to introduce changes in 2015, they had gone back following protests. Now there is a Congress government in Rajasthan, so, what has been stopping them from implementing it said by Shekhawat?
Shekhawat said they are three brothers and have about 12 bighas between them. They earn their livelihood by growing millet, wheat, chickpea, mustard, etc. and by rearing cattle. If the land would be taken then it will be hard for them to survive. The new law has a clause for employment for affected families. Therefore, the compensation as per the new law is required by them said by 62-year-old Sitaram Sharma, who had fainted while he was chest-deep in soil. Surajmal took his place.
The land acquisition is marked for the housing scheme, according to the Samiti, over 1,300 bighas had been marked for the housing scheme out of which around 1,150 bighas are occupied by the farmers. Nearly 650 bighas are yet to be surrendered said Shekhawat.
Farmers also said that in exchange for their land if they will be compensated with one-fourth of their land within the housing scheme, but this also will not be suitable to them as it would involve several charges such as rent money. And there are multiple families living on a piece of land. Technically, the land given to them would be in the name of one person, but it will get divided between his or her children and their families. For example, if there are 40 people in a family and if they will ask to move and live on land equivalent to a fourth of the land currently held by them said by Babulal (70), a farmer at the protest will not be enough to them.
Kailash Bohra (54), president of the Samiti, said that JDA had misled them in 2017 and this time the farmers will not call off the agitation till there is a concrete decision. Apart from a protest by many farmers, Shekhawat, Bohra, Surajmal, Shishupal and Gopal Kumawat are chest-deep in soil, even spending the winter nights there.
JDA Deputy Commissioner, Manish Faujdar, who had reached Nindar on Thursday (09.01.2020), said our process was complete before the implementation of the new law. And the possession process was defended by the Supreme Court in 2018.
But Shekhawat said that none of the poor farmers here approached the court. They simply can’t afford to go there and also none of these farmers were heard. Faujdar requested the farmers to call off the protest, and better be placed with the old rules and also said JDA will share relevant documents to make them things understand.