MANDI BAHAUDDIN - Farmers belonging to villages Kuthiala Sydan, Khewa, Baga Pump and adjoining localities staged a demonstration here against the government plan to acquire their land measuring 100 acre for the establishment of a small industrial estate.

They blocked the Mandi Bahauddin-Malakwal Road suspending the traffic for hours and shouted slogans against the federal minister for industries. They said earlier, the government had acquired their 20 acre agricultural land for dumping garbage and now the government was acquiring more than 100 acre land for setting up small industrial estate.

They said the government was bent on snatching their land, the only source of their income. They demanded government withdraw the decision of land acquisition of land otherwise they would hold a sit-in at DC office. They also pointed out that about 25 years back, the government had acquired about 50 acre land at very low price, for setting up low income housing scheme in Panda Bahauddin and that land was turned into plots. After selling plots at higher rates, development of the scheme was abandoned, they regretted.  The government on one hand deprived the farmers of the land and on the other hand, the buyers of plots were also deprived of their cash as the scheme has not been developed. The farmers flayed the government for its anti-farmers policies. They vowed to prefer dying to surrendering their land to government for the use of traders who, as they added, were already sucking their blood by selling their products at exorbitant rates.

Instead of bringing fertile land under industrial schemes, the land in hilly area lying across the River Jhelum and Pabi terrain in Tehsil Kharian should be earmarked for establishment of industrial estate, they suggested.