21 years on, Ayodhya farmers still await land compensation

AYODHYA (TIP): This December 6 will mark 21 years of Babri mosque demolition. In past two decades, several governments have changed in Uttar Pradesh but 16 farmers of Ayodhya are still awaiting full payment of compensation for their land which was acquired for the construction of Ram temple. Their land was adjacent to the disputed Babri mosque site. The 29 acre land of farmers was acquired in 1989 by then UP government, headed by ND Tewari. The government had told farmers that it was acquiring the land for construction of Ram Katha Park, social activist Vineet Maurya told TOI.

Maurya has taken up farmers’ cause with the government. The land was later transferred to the tourism department for Ram Katha Park. In March 1992, Kalyan Singh government acquired 31 acre nazul land, and granted 60 acre (including 29 acre acquired by Congress government) to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas on a lease of 99 years at the rent of Re 1 per year. But after the demolition of the Babri mosque, the Central government took control of this 60 acre land in January 1993. The government had fixed Rs 15 per sq feet as compensation and released Rs 2 crore in the account of tourism department.

The money was to be paid to farmers. But the actual amount distributed by then land acquisition officer of Faizabad was just Rs 2.40 per sq feet, which came to around Rs 33 lakh. The remaining amount has not reached the famers till date. In a reply to an RTI query, the regional tourism office of Faizabad stated that all related documents are missing from the records and it would not be possible to provide any information in this regard.

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