Rawalpindi-Over 100 villagers convened a meeting at Jhatta Hathyal on Wednesday and decided to stage a protest outside Rawalpindi Press Club (RPC) against the district government for paying them low compensations for their land being acquired for Ring Road project.

The meeting was chaired by Tehreek-e-Potohar Province Raja Ijaz and attended by members of Ring Road Victims Committee.

In the meeting, the villagers have decided to get Rs 2 million compensation for per kanal land from the government.

The villagers will stage protest demo outside RPC today (Thursday) at 11am.

Most of the participants of the meeting came from Khinghar Kallan, Kahee Mir Baz, Dhoke Bhattian Noor Din, Mandhal, Khinghar Khurd, Jhatta Hathyal, Hoshial, Mohra Gaar, Dhoke Ghogra, Lillah, Kamalpur and Kotla.

Addressing the meeting, Raja Ijaz condemned the conspiracies being hatched by officers of district government to acquire ancestral lands of the villagers at throwaway prices. 

He said the villagers would not surrender before any government pressure and would get compensation for their land as per market value. He said the whole villagers are united and would stage protest outside RPC in the first phase while march towards Parliament House in second phase if Punjab government failed in meeting their genuine demands.

He said he had mobilised all the victims of Ring Road project and would not sit peacefully until the government gives them their full dues against the land.

Muhammad Hanif, representative of Ring Road Victims Committee, while talking to The Nation, said a total of 2700 kanals of land is being acquired by the government in Kahee Mir Baaz Village for Ring Road. 

He said the government is paying the landlords Rs 130,000 per kanal whereas actual price of the land is Rs2 million per kanal. He said some 20 houses of villages would be erased during execution of project and the owners would not be compensated.

“We are not against the execution of Ring Road project but the mafia and babus who are attempting to grab our lands against throwaway prices,” he said.

Muhammad Mazhar Yasin of Khinghar Kalan village was of view that the government had allocated the lands for building economic zones on both sides of Ring Road but neglected his village and had acquired land only from one side. 

“It was being done to save the lands of two big housing societies’ boundaries touching the Ring Road,” he said 

“For the past many months and years, we have been protesting against the government and so far we had at least 12 rounds of talks with the administration but nothing has happened,” said Amjad Ali, another victim. He said our prime land was taken away on cheap rate and we are now demanding more compensation under the land acquisition act.

Many other villages also raised concerns over the alleged planning of district government to acquire their lands on cheaper prices and demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to come forward to give them justice or they would pour on roads.