Gurgaon land acquisition row: Farmers move Punjab and Haryana HC

Gurgaon/Chandigarh (Haryana), Aug 2 (ANI): Farmers hailing from villages near Haryana's Gurgaon city on Tuesday knocked at the doors of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh with a petition that their lands had been forcibly acquired for a meager sum.

The farmers further mentioned that the land was taken over to favour a trust managed by the Congress President Sonia Gandhi's family.

According to the farmers, the government had discriminated in acquiring their lands and favoured the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust floated by the Gandhi family.

They also lamented that the prescribed acquisition process was bypassed, while acquiring their lands.

Thus the harried farmers moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking justice.

Dharamveer Singh, a former member of the Panchayat (village council) said that the government did not give any notification to the landowners and forced the village council to part with the arable lands.

"We were not told anything when the government acquired our lands. The former District Commissioner of Gurgaon came and pressurised the village council by contending that Bhupinder Hooda (Chief Minister of Haryana) wants it and said that the land is going to Sonia Gandhi, through Rajiv Gandhi Trust," said Singh.

"They have leased the land in the name of the trust and Gandhi's family doctor. They forced the village council to sign the documents," he added.

The farmers have accused the government of not compensating them appropriately.

"The land is worth 500 million, but they have paid only 1.5 million to the village council account. So is it ethical to give only 1.5 million for the land that is worth 500 million? It is like almost paying nothing. They should have at least given the market rates for the land," said Narayan Singh, another villager.

"When Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh have said this everywhere that farmers would be given the market rates for their lands, then why are they not giving the due sum?" he asked.

Meanwhile, in response to the petition, the court has pulled up the government and sought a reply.

An advocate appearing for the farmers in the case said the government has been directed to constitute a committee to sort out the issues raised by farmers and also re-consider land acquisition process.

"The state of Haryana has come up with policy to re-consider the matters. They have framed a new policy for all these land cases," said Chetan Mittal, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to media reports, it was revealed during the hearing that the government acquired the land in favour of the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka are its trustees. (ANI)