UP wakes up after Buddha project ‘shifts’ to Bihar

After the International Maitreya Foundation decided to shift the Maitreya Buddha project from Kushinagar to Bodh Gaya in Bihar, the district administration in Kushinagar has stepped up efforts for acquisition of land which was identified the project.

The administration said that since the foundation had not communicated any change of its plans, they were proceeding with the assumption that the project would stay in Kushinagar.

District officials claimed that a majority of the landowners had agreed to accept compensation at the rate of Rs 945 per square metre. District Magistrate Rigzian Sampheal on Friday said that around Rs 19 crore for about 50 acres land had been distributed to farmers in the past three days.

On Tuesday, the administration held a meeting with farmers. It claims that they agreed to accept the rate of Rs 945 per square metre, which was also the rate at which compensation had been paid for land acquired for the Kushinagar international airport project, which is close by.

"About 590 farmers had come to the meeting, they demanded compensation at Rs 1,500 per square metre. But after negotiations, they agreed to accept Rs 945 per square metre and signed the bonds to sell the land," said the DM.

The government has to acquire 256 acres for the project from nearly 2,300 farmers. Officials claimed that more than 1,700 farmers had agreed to accept compensation. "Other 600 farmers are also amendable and we are hopeful that all of them will accept compensation within the next few days," Sampheal said.

Another official said the government actually expedited the land acquisition process for a different reason. Some of the farmers had approached the Allahabad High Court, seeking early payment of compensation, and the court recently ordered that they should be paid at the earliest.

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