The residents of around two dozen villages have been holding a dharna at Mandora village here for the past four months seeking compensation for their agricultural land to be acquired for the proposed National Highway-344 M, connecting Bawana to Barwasani, under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and government jobs for the affected families.Four times market rateFarmer leader Shamsher Singh said the land for the proposed highway was being acquired under the National Highways Act, but the residents are demanding that it be acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, which grants compensation more than four times the market rate. He added that even for the acquisition under the National Highways Act, a committee was to be constituted to decide the market value of the land, but it was not set up. Mr. Singh said a memorandum for the same was given to the Deputy Commissioner office seven months ago, but no action was taken on it. Sonipat Deputy Commissioner Anshaj Singh did not respond to repeated calls.Dharam Singh Mandora, who is leading the protest, also demanded that the collector rate for these villages be hiked from the current ₹25 lakh per acre to ₹1.25 crore per acre since the current rate did not reflect the actual market value of the land. Several neighouring villages in Sonipat such as Murthal and a few villages in Jhajjar had collector rate running into crores, the farmers claimed.The protesters are also seeking increased compensation for six villages — Mandora, Mandori, Turkpur, Bada Thana, Pipli and Gopalpur — for their land acquired for the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway at par with the compensation granted to the villages in Uttar Pradesh for Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal Expressway.Mr. Singh claimed that while the farmers in U.P.’s Dasna and Hayatpur were paid around ₹3 crore per acre for their land acquired for the KGP Expressway, the farmers in Haryana were paid ₹20-30 lakh per acre only. He demanded that they should also be paid at par with the farmers in the U.P. since the two projects were identical.Jai Prakash demanded that the government ensure that the land being acquired for Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor, connecting Palwal to Sonipat along the KMP, be within a width of two acres along the highway. “If a wide strip of agricultural land is left between the KMP and the railway corridor, it would be a huge loss to the farmers,” he said.Ajit Turkpur stressed that the route for the proposed metro expansion from Bawana to Sonipat must pass through Kharkhoda as decided during the Congress government.