The claim by Karnataka Minister for Major and Medium Industries Murugesh Nirani that farmers in Halligudi and other villages in Gadag district were willing to part with their land to accommodate Posco Steel Industry, has again set off some ripples in the region.
The farmers in Halligudi of Mundargi taluk in Gadag district are firm with their stand to not part with their land to make way for the Posco Steel plant. They have taken exception to industries minister Murugesh Nirani’s claim that nearly 90 per cent of farmers had volunteered to hand over their land to KIADB in lieu of compensation and employment.
Murugesh Nirani, during his visit to Koppal at the weekend, claimed that 90 per cent of the farmers whose lands were notified for acquisition had expressed their willingness to hand over their lands.
President of Mundaragi Taluk Abhivruddhi Horata Vedike Y R Goudar said, no farmer in the region had ever agreed to the acquisition of their lands in exchange for jobs and compensation as claimed by Nirani. He said, while 167 farmers were opposed to land acquisition, only 115 farmers had agreed to part with the land, that too reluctantly.
“Nobody from the government has contacted the farmers to discuss the issue as on the date. Whatever Murugesh Nirani said is a blatant lie. We oppose land acquisition and we are firm on our stand. Any effort to acquire the lands using force will be opposed tooth and nail,” he said.
Goudar said the lands proposed for acquisition were among the most fertile in the region. The 6,000 plus acres is the only stretch where three crops — jowar, cotton and wheat — are cultivated simultaneously. These lands fall under the catchment area of the Singatalur Lift Irrigation Project that is nearing completion. Land acquisition for industrial purpose would defeat the very objective of this irrigation project. Moreover, the land acquisition would displace over 250 families of farmers.
The proposed steel and gas power plant in Mevundi would be hazardous to the environment. The people of the region depend on the tanks for their drinking water and these water bodies would be polluted if industrial units are set up here. Moreover, these units would come up within a distance of barely 13 km from Kappatagudda, which has been declared a hub for medicinal plants and the rich vegetation here would be harmed, he said.