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Maya scraps land acquisition near Varanasi

May 31, 2011 17:02 IST

Having faced much embarrassment in Bhatta-Parsaul villages of Greater Noida, the Mayawati government on Tuesday decided to bow down before the demands of agitating farmers in Chandauli district near Varanasi by withdrawing its acquisition proceedings there.

This follows a seven-day sustained campaign by farmers against the acquisition of 121 hectares of land in Katesar village in the district, about 325 km from Lucknow for building 'New Kashi' city as a parallel to Varanasi.

The demonstrating farmers had even gone to the extent of holding the local SDM captive for almost 18 hours on Friday.

However, denying that the government had decided to give up the acquisition, district magistrate Vijay Kumar Tripathi told media persons in Chandauli, "I have recommended to the government that we should withdraw the acquisition notices issued under section 4 and section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act."

He declined to explain what led the administration to roll back its decision on the acquisition.

Local farmer Dina Nath, who had emerged as an impromptu leader of the anti-acquisition campaign, has hailed the government's move, which he attributed to the unity and sustained agitation by the farmers.

"Thank God, the realisation dawned upon the administration that it was unfair on their part to take away the farmers' rich agricultural land for urbanisation," Dina Nath told media persons.

"There was plenty of non-cultivable land available for that purpose and the government could easily acquire that," he added.

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow