Farmers staged a protest on Tuesday opposing the land acquisition at Balahalli village by Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) for a proposed satellite township.
Balahalli is situated 5 to 7 km off the Outer Ring Road from Dattagalli in Mysuru West and MUDA requires nearly 480 acres for a new self-contained satellite township for which it has begun land acquisition. However, it is not an outright purchase. MUDA will enter an agreement with farmers or land owners as per which the latter will transfer land rights to the authority that will develop the sites and hand over 50% of the same to the owners in lieu of compensation.
The farmers or owners will be free to sell it at prevailing market price, reckoned to be more profitable than a one-time consolidated cash payment by the MUDA. However, there is growing opposition to the project on the grounds that fertile agricultural land is forcibly being acquired for non-agricultural purposes and forcing farmers to abandon agriculture.
A section of local farmers have expressed their ire over the land acquisition beginning without a public hearing. A hearing held a few months ago fizzled out amidst chaos as there was vociferous protests against the exercise. However, MUDA have claimed that a majority of farmers were in favour of surrendering land and there was opposition from a handful of owners who would be persuaded to relinquish ownership in return for full developed ready-to-sell plots which would be more lucrative.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene along with a few other organisations have opposed the project on the grounds that agricultural land was being acquired for housing and industrial purpose and this would not only affect the farming community but have a direct bearing on the food production and security. Hence, the farmers launched a ‘Save Balahalli’ movement to oppose land acquisition for satellite township development.