Farmers oppose MUDA’s project at Ballahalli

They see ‘conspiracy’ in large-scale acquisition of agricultural land

Farmers from Mysuru rural have expressed their ire over the proposed satellite township at Ballahalli on the outskirts of the city as it entails large-scale acquisition of agricultural land.

The project was proposed by the Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) years ago and efforts are on to acquire nearly 500 acres of land at Ballahalli which is located about 6 km off the Outer Ring Road from Dattagalli in Mysuru West.

The agitating farmers gathered outside the MUDA office on Thursday and raised slogans seeking abolition of the project. A section of the farmers alleged that the land registered in the name of the MUDA Chairman H.V. Rajiv at Ballahalli, has been kept out of the purview of the notification and termed it as a conspiracy.

The farmers alleged that real-estate sharks were keen to create a land bank so as to sell it to investors in future and it was a conspiracy to divest the farmers of their property.

But the MUDA authorities have stated that the Ballahalli satellite project does not entail outright purchase of land. Instead, farmers will be made partners in development and they will sign an agreement with the MUDA which will develop the land and sell 50 per cent of the sites to the public while the farmers will be free to sell the remaining 50 per cent of their share at the prevailing market rate in lieu of compensation.

This arrangement, according to the MUDA, was beneficial to the farmers as they can sell the sites at a rate higher than a one-time cash payment awarded by way of compensation for land acquisition. For the MUDA, it will save enormous cost that is incurred towards land purchase.

However, the farmers from the region are wary that they would not only be divested of their land but they will not come across suitable buyers at such far-flung areas. This will enable real-estate sharks to artificially depress the site value and procure it from them (farmers) at a lower rate.

Members of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene have also opposed the project on the grounds that acquisition of prime agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes will have a long-term bearing on food security.

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