Mangalore: Farmer to continue his fight

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The Hindu

Several organisations, religious leaders and writers stage a protest

DISTRESSED:The cattle of Gregory Patrao, which are now shelterless following the demolition of his house, at the demonstration in Mangalore on Monday.

MANGALORE: Several organisations, religious leaders and writers staged a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Monday against the acquisition of land belonging to Gregory Patrao, a farmer, by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board for the expansion of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd.

The house of Mr. Patrao, who is an environmental activist and former vice-president of the Bala panchayat, was demolished in the presence of the police on April 28.

Mr. Patrao reiterated that he would continue his fight against land acquisition. Although the Karnataka High Court had dismissed his case, it had permitted him to appeal. He said, the compensation for his horticultural crops had been fixed in an arbitrary way. He said he had decided against parting with his land because it was fertile and had been falsely described as barren by a study conducted for the Mangalore Special Economic Zone.Many speakers, including Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer Vaidehi, strongly criticised the “undemocratic” manner in which Mr. Patrao’s land was acquired, ignoring the pleas of his family members. Stating that they were not against development, the protesters said that by acquiring cultivable land, the Government was threatening the food security of the region. They urged the Government to rebuild the Mr. Patrao’s house.

Advocate Keshav Nandodi said that the officials had acted without the execution order for demolishing the house of Mr. Patrao and this would amount to contempt of court.

Eesha Vittaladasa Swami of the Kemar Mathand Christian leader John Fernandes spoke. The demonstration was supported by Krishi Bhoomi Samrakshana Vedike, Karavali Karnataka Janabhivriddhi Vedike, Citizens’ Forum for Mangalore Development, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Jamat-e-Islami Hind, Hindu Jagran Vedike and Democratic Youth Federation of India.


KRRS leaders and Mr. Patrao met the Deputy Commissioner after the protest.


Comments on this Article
Victor D Souza, Moodubelle / Doha Tue, May-4-2010, 1:38
The issue of land acquisition is a very sensitive one, with 65% of Indian population dependent on farming. Acquiring a small portion of big land for something like road is understandable. But acquiring the entire land against the wishes of the farmers will affect their life as they depend on agriculture, which is their traditional livelihood. Authorities should look for alternative sites instead of acquiring fertile lands in the area or provide proper compensation. Farmers should not be victims of industrialization. They should be partners in the process.
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