Noida - Within the confines of police barricades, amidst the array of tents, mattresses and aroma of cooking food, another farmers’ sit-in — after the historic 2020-2021 agitation against the now repealed three farm acts — has taken root in the National Capital Region.
This demonstration, a reminder of the previous agitation at Delhi borders, echoes a call for a fairer compensation in exchange for their land acquisition.
Since December 18, hundreds of peasants have been staging protests outside the Noida Authority office. After they were allegedly heard, a week ago, they gave a call to march to Parliament to press their demands.
Taking it seriously, the Noida police swung into action and stopped the farmers at various points, including the city’s borders of Mahamaya Flyover, Dalit Prerna Sthal and Chilla border. Thousands of officers and numerous barricades were deployed to prevent them from entering the city.
The farmers’ demands include allocation of 10% of the total acquired land for their families, permission to utilize residential land for commercial purposes, increased compensation for all individuals who relinquished their land as well as improved job opportunities and healthcare benefits from the government.
For months, farmers from Noida and Greater Noida have been expressing discontent with the state and Noida authority's policies regarding land acquisition compensation.
Last month, in a show of strength, they locked the gates at the Noida authority headquarters — causing a halt in operations for the day.
The protest in Noida has the presence of peasants both from the city and surrounding villages, representing a diverse range of ages and genders. People of all ages, from young to old, are actively participating in the protest.
The protesters have erected tents and laid out mattresses, creating a makeshift place of stay. Amidst the sloganeering, a sense of unity prevailed among them.
The provision of essential amenities such as water purifiers and cooking facilities emphasized the protestors’ unwavering commitment to sustaining their demonstration.
Beyond merely airing their grievances, the protest site emerged as a powerful symbol of collective resistance and mutual support. Despite encountering obstacles in this spine-chilling cold, they are showcasing remarkable resilience and solidarity.
Jai Prakash from Bharatiya Kisan Parishad highlighted that their protest at the site has entered 61st day.
“We are protesting because we have some demands from the state administration,” he told The Mooknayak.
“When our land was acquired, we were not compensated fairly. They had cut 10% of our compensation — claiming that it is being taken for an alternate plot to be provided to us when they were only supposed to charge 5% for the same,” he said.
When they asked for the fair amount, he said, an “illegal deployment charge was levied”. “When we approached the court, we were promised 64% extra on top of the already issued payment. It has been years, and we are still waiting for our fair share,” he complained.
He said they don’t have their homes and any property. “Left with no option, we hit the roads as the issue is related to our survival,” he added.
He said the protesting peasants have already approached the district magistrate, local leaders and the commissioner who allegedly did not bother to even give them a hearing. And therefore, they reasoned, they gave a call for a Parliament march on February 8.
Anar Singari, another farmer at the site, said, “We are sitting here helplessly, waiting for an assurance from the government. But we do not plan to go back home empty handed. If nothing happens, we will go to the capital and surround the Parliament to make sure our demands are met.”
Geeta Yadav from Behlolpur village lashed out at the Noida Authority by saying, “They are making sure that we go back empty handed, but that will not happen. They have taken our land and the only thing we demand is fair compensation.”
A demonstrator, Seema, addressed the protesters in a determined tone. “No one listens to us. Farmers will still not stop. Yesterday, when we tried going to the Parliament, which is supposed to listen to its citizen’s voice, we were not allowed to move ahead.”
She then claimed, “But for how long will they stop us? We are not doing anything illegal or asking for a lot. We are fighting for our rights. That is all.”
“If we can make someone the administrator, we also have the power to remove them from the post,” she added.
The protesting farmers have put forward the following demands:
All farmers must be given 10% of plots and 64.7% compensation as agreed upon. Authorities must ensure excessive compensation in compliance with the agreement. Payment should be made within three to six months.
A comprehensive population diagnosis should be conducted.