Rahul Gandhi petitions NHAI over farm land acquisition

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Blaming the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government for the problems faced by the state's farmers, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took up with the NHAI the cause of peasants put on notice for land acquisition. The Congress leader, during a short visit to the state capital, drove to the regional office of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and submitted a memorandum on the notices served to farmers in Ambedkar Nagar and Amethi for land acquisition. In the memorandum he handed over to NHAI General Manager Rajiv Agarwal, the Lok Sabha MP from Amethi alleged that the farmers' houses were being razed without advance notice. He claimed that the land of farmers had been illegally acquired by the state government for the four-laning of a road in the area.  Flanked by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar and former Union Minister Jitin Prasada, the Congress Vice President said farmers in Kathaura village of Jagdishpur area in Amethi had not been given compensation and their houses were razed without notice.  The NHAI is constructing a truck lane in Kathaura village. Land owned by the State Industrial Development Corporation had been given to 50 farmer families for cultivation in the past.  The Congress is now demanding that apart from adequate compensation to the affected farmers, the truck lane should be diverted half a km away from the spot.  UPCC chief Raj Babbar, who had staged a sit-in at Ambedkar Nagar that ended on Monday, said his party will ensure legal advice for farmers who want to move any court against land acquisition.  The Congress Vice President was earlier accorded a grand welcome by party workers and a large number of farmers who wished to meet him. Rahul Gandhi last visited the state capital in February during campaigning for the February-March assembly elections. He participated in a road show with the then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party entered into an alliance with the Congress for the polls.