LUCKNOW: The former Prime Minister and Jan Morcha convenor V.P. Singh and Jan Morcha Alliance president Raj Babbar have announced the launch of "Deoria to Dadri Nyaya Yatra." The 49-day yatra would begin on September 17 and end on November 27.
Mr. V.P. Singh took credit for the `bhumi pujan' (ground-breaking ceremony) at the Dadri power station site which was performed at 8.30 a.m. on Thursday by a State Government official. Describing the soil tilled by him and Mr. Babbar as a "big victory" for the Jan Morcha, Mr. Singh, however, assailed the ceremony having been being performed on private land by a government official and not by Reliance Energy chief Anil Ambani.
Mr. Singh asked Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav to clarify whether government officials could perform religious rites.
Talking to reporters, he dubbed the `bhumi-pujan' as an eyewash considering that the gas pipeline for the power project was yet to be laid. He said the plant can be constructed only after arrangements for gas supply have been finalised. He warned that if the standing crops of the farmers were destroyed Jan Morcha supporters would prevent any work. He said if the area was to be fenced off, he would himself cut the barbed wire.
Stating that while the farmers were paid compensation at the rate of Rs. 150 a sq. m., Mr Singh said Mr. Ambani had taken a bank loan at the rate of Rs. 5,700 a sq. m. He said the same rate should be paid to the farmers. As regards electricity being given to U.P. at the rate of Rs. 2 per unit, the former Prime Minister said either the agreement should be made public or the Chief Minister give an assurance in the Vidhan Sabha.
He said 2,250 acres of land was acquired for the Dadri project whereas only 350 acres is required for the gas-based project. Mr. Singh said the Pragati gas-based power project of 300 MW capacity had been built on 17 acres. He said the remainder of the Dadri land would be included in the proposed Special Economic Zone and the escalation in the land cost then would be between Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 80,000 per sq. m.
Mr. Singh said Dadri was a symbol of different forms of atrocities and highhandedness and said the Jan Morcha campaign would be taken to the villages.
It is in this context that the proposed Deoria to Dadri march had assumed significance. Deoria is situated in the far eastern corner of U.P. and was one of the most backward districts of the State. The proposed march will highlight local problems, especially in the rural areas, including the agricultural loans and drought.
The march will move from one corner of the State to the other. Mr. Babbar said the yatra would cover 63 districts in 49 days.
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