Punjab Congress legislators held for opposing land deal

July 29th, 2011 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Chandigarh, July 29 (IANS) Congress leaders from Punjab, including five legislators, were arrested Friday while they were going to Mansa district to oppose the Punjab government’s move to acquire farm land for a private sector thermal plant.

Those arrested include legislators Kewal Dhillon, Harminder Jassi, Mangat Rai Bansal, Ajitinder Singh Moffer and Sher Singh Gagowal.

The leaders were later released.

The Congress leaders were proceeding towards Gobindpura village in Mansa, some 250 km from here, where villagers are vehemently opposing acquisition of nearly 170 acres of land for construction of a power plant of private firm.

The Punjab Police and district authorities last week resorted to cane charge after the villagers clashed with the police while preventing officials of the company from taking possession of the land.

In Patiala, former Punjab chief minister and state Congress president Amarinder Singh said that the Congress party will cancel all land acquisitions done by the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government if it returns to power.

Assembly elections in Punjab are scheduled for Feb-March next year.

The Congress leaders demanded that the Punjab government double the compensation for land being acquired, and said that the 170 acres of land, which the villagers were unwilling to sell, should not be acquired.

“The government is in a hurry to complete the land acquisition to claim the power project as its major achievement, but the real agenda is to benefit the private company before its term ends,” Dhillon told reporters after Friday’s protest.

“There is no point pushing up a project of this scale at a time the whole country is re-thinking existing policies for land acquisition and the union government is itself keen on bringing about a comprehensive law on the matter,” he added.

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