Indian GP landowner bilked
Worth $400-million (approximately Rs 1700 crore), the Buddha International Formula One Circuit not only promises to herald a new era in Indian motorsport history, the venue for the Indian Grand Prix is also expected to serve as a major source of employment. But, prosperity is the last thing on the mind of Vijender Singh. Hailing from Gunpura village, the small-time farmer's land was acquired over six months back, but he is still awaiting compensation.
When land acquisition for the 5.5 km track began, Vijender's 6.5 bighas (approximately 1.3 acres) were acquired as it fell within the radar of the track. He was assured of Rs 6.75 lakh per bigha.
Survival an issue
With his land gone, and compensation a distant dream, survival has become an issue for the family of five.
“It's a difficult time for my family. My sons are doing odd jobs (his eldest son, Kamal, drives a tractor on a daily basis) and I spend much of my time chasing officials for the compensation,” Vijender told Hindustan Times on Friday.
Also playing on the mind is the race circuit's utility for the people of the area.
“Millions are being spent to build a race circuit, but a small farmer like me is struggling to get his legitimate dues,” said Vijender, while expressing helplessness at convincing officials that he needs the money to survive.
“Had I got my dues, I would have invested the money in some business.”
With land rates around the F1 track on the rise, Vijender is also worried that when the compensation arrives, whether the prevailing land rates would be taken into account.
According to him, a bigha now costs between Rs 10 lakh-12 lakh. “Some extra money will ensure a better future for my family,” he said with a wistful look.