Farmers from three villages, whose lands are being acquired for the proposed Ferozepur-Patti railway, on Monday petitioned the district administration to secure higher compensation for their land from the railways.
It is estimated that 121 acres and more than five dozen homes, in addition to a few religious buildings, will be acquired for the project.
Farmers in Qutub-Ud-in Wala, Kale Ke Hithar and Dula Singh Wala villages of Ferozepur district, in a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Amrit Singh, are demanding higher compensation for their land.
“The government wants to acquire our land at ridiculous prices. The laying of the railway on our land will not only affect our livelihoods but also make it difficult to farm on the adjacent land,” said Ravinder Singh from Dula Singh Wala Village.
“The threat of flooding is great because our village is located on the banks of the Sutlej. Now the acquisition of land for the railway will seriously affect our livelihoods. Therefore, a family member should have a job,” Nasib Singh from Kale Ke Hithar village asked.
“We cannot accept the meager compensation of ₹10-15 lakh per acre. Farmers must be paid ₹80-90 lakh per acre,” said Parwinder Singh, another farmer whose land will be acquired.
The farmers said that in case the government does not listen to their demands, they will have no choice but to start an agitation.
Meanwhile, officials said the rate would be set based on the price of an acre of land sold or purchased over the past three years. By keeping the price the same as the base rate, farmers will receive four times more than the base rate in compensation.
Nine years have passed since the 25.47 km Ferozepur-Patti rail link project was given the green light; the Punjab government failed to acquire the land for the project.
Om Parkash, Subdivision Magistrate, Ferozepur, acknowledged the demands raised by the farmers and added that they are trying to resolve the issue and discussions are ongoing with the farmers and it will be resolved soon.
The commercially vital rail link will shorten the distance between northern states including Punjab and the capitals of Gujarat and Maharashtra. It will also shorten the distance between Ferozepur and Amritsar. It would also connect the Malwa and Majha regions of Punjab and shorten the distance between Jammu and Mumbai by 267 km.