‘Farmer’s hut razed for vice president’s chopper in Madhya Pradesh’

Bhopal, Feb 15 (IANS) A farmer’s hut was demolished to pave way for a helipad for the landing of Vice President Hamid Ansari’s helicopter at Mandu during his recent visit to Madhya Pradesh, state Urban Administration and Development Minister Babulal Gaur has alleged.

‘I’m pained by the incident. A pro-farmer government is ruling Madhya Pradesh and their (farmers’) interests can’t be ignored. The poor farmer had to spend a couple of nights in the open this winter since his house was demolished,’ Gaur told IANS.

He said that he had asked state chief secretary Avani Vaish to compensate Umrao, the farmer, and also provide him a cottage free of cost under the Indira Awas Yojana.

Gaur also claimed to have instructed the chief secretary to order a probe into the circumstances leading to the incident.

Ansari and his wife Salma visited Mandu, a ruined city in Dhar district, during their two-day stay in Madhya Pradesh starting Thursday (Feb 11). They toured the monument of love, perched on a hilltop where Rani Rupmati’s pavilion gazes down at Baz Bahadur’s palace.

Meanwhile, Dhar Collector Brijmohan Sharma told IANS: ‘The farmer’s hut had to be removed after the Vice President’s security told us that the landing of the helicopter may harm it. We had only two options – either to get the visit cancelled or remove the hut.

‘The farmer too agreed readily on the condition that a new hut be made for him elsewhere. The district administration had provided Rs.5,000 as compensation to Umrao and a new hut is also being constructed for him.’

But Gaur, a former chief minister of the state, said: ‘My experience in public life says the administration must have compelled him to sign on the dotted line. He must have been left without a choice.’

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