On his recent visit to Amethi, Rahuli Gandhi faced the fury of the locals. A group of farmers from the Shahgarh area of Amethi staged protest in Gauriganj against the Congress Party President’s arrival in Amethi on January 23. The farmers were demonstrating against Congress and Rahul Gandhi for the party’s failure to restart the Samrat Cycle factory.
Closed Samrat Bicycle site in Gauriganj, Amethi
It seems that the ghost of Samrat Bicycle factory is still haunting the people of Amethi. People term it a flimflam and blame Gandhi-Nehru family for robbing them of their lands. Even Smriti Irani, who fought the Parliamentary election against Rahul Gandhi in 2014 highlighted it in her public rallies and accused the Congress of a land scam in Amethi saying, “60-65 acres of land was taken for Samrat cycle company from residents of Amethi. But the land was later transferred to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust on February 24, 2015."
After the death of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, all the projects that were started were put on hold. The lands were taken from the farmers under the pretext of providing them jobs, and it led to no result. 62-year-old Sanjay (name changed), a vegetable vendor by profession told Organiser, “Many families faced the crisis because of all this mishappening. It is true that the farmers received meagre compensation, but that was not enough. They gave away their lands in the hope of getting a job for the lifetime, but nobody had an idea that this decision was going to ruin their future.”
In 1983, 65 acres of land belonging to farmers was acquired in Kauhar village of Amethi and given to Samrat Bicycles to set up a manufacturing plant. However, the company did not start the work and soon closed down. To repay the loan, it auctioned the land allotted by Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC). It has been alleged that later the 65 acres of farmers' land, which was acquired for setting up the bicycle factory was sold to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.
The experts questions how any land belonging to the UPSIDC was transferred to Samrat Cycles on ownership basis and termed it a part of the conspiracy to illegitimately transfer industrial land to the Rajiv Gandhi Trust. People alleged that the trust purchased the valuable land in just Rs 10 crore from the Samrat Bicycle setup and later sold scraps of the factory for Rs 60 crore.
Sanjay recalls that almost all the prime lands given to the industrialists in the constituency to open industries by Rajiv Gandhi were a part of the plan. After year or two, almost all the industrialists who had begun their units had promptly declared their units sick and minted money from the land which they had got on a subsidised rate. The poor have not even been given jobs with these industrial units. Around 600 small-big industries were opened up in Amethi till date, but most of them are dysfunctional.