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Punjab farmers join acquisition cry


Jyoti Kamal,CNN-IBN
Sep 27, 2006 at 09:45am IST

Mohali: After the farmers protest over Tata motors acquiring land in West Bengal, farmers in Punjab also join protest. But this time, the farmers are opposing the setting up of the Institute of Science Education and Research.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is going to lay the foundation stone the Institute of Science Education and Research at Mohali in Punjab on Wednesday. But angry state farmers say they will protest against it.

Due to recent urban development projects land prices have shot up in the state. But farmers are complaining that they are being taken for a ride by the government.

Farmer Mewa Singh is worried that his land might be taken from him for a pittance.

"The government is taking land at the price of pennies from us. All round us we are surrounded by land that is sold for crores of rupees an acre. In the center the government is paying us just Rs 10 to 12 lakh and uprooting us. We have no options left if we lose the land. We should be given a stake holding in the land," said Mewa Singh.

And hundreds of farmers like Mewa Singh in Punjab are protesting against the government buying land for special economic zones.

"We don't want to sell our fertile land. We want to cultivate this land. Nobody can enter in our land, we shall fight till death," says another farmer Hardev Singh.

More than nine farmer organisations are taking part in the protests that have gathered momentum across the state. Agitating farmers staged a dharna on Monday at Manawala.

They are also planning a massive protest when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits the proposed site for an institute of science and research at Mohali on Wednesday.

Farmers are protesting to protect the lush green fields, which will disappear once the government acquires 417 acres of land for an Indian Institute of Science.

Farmers don't want the compensation money, they want stake holding. They also don't want to give up their profession for any reason whatsoever.

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