Forty-seven farmers were arrested on Monday while protesting in Jewar demanding a hike in compensation for the land acquired for an airport, officials said.
When the farmers proceeded to lay seige to the Jewar toll plaza around noon, they were arrested as the demonstration could have disrupted the movement of traffic, the officials said.
The arrest comes at a time when the acquisition of land is underway for the Greenfield International Airport in Gautam Buddh Nagar's Jewar tehsil.
The district administration has acquired more than three-quarters of the land required for the first phase of the airport.
"The farmers under the banner of the Jewar Airport Kisan Sangharsh Samiti have been on a sit-in for the past one year. We have demanded four times the circle rate in compensation and one government job to each family affected by the project," Rakesh Singh, a protesting farmer said.
He said the sangharsh samiti had been protesting for it since September 2018 at Dayanatpur village and around 500 farmers on Monday participated in the demonstration.
District police chief Vaibhav Krishna said the farmers were held under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Section 151.
"There was a protest by farmers. Forty-seven farmers have been arrested. They were moving to block the Jewar toll plaza. The farmers were asked not to do so, but they remained adamant on taking the law into their hands," Greater Noida Superintendent of Police Ranvijay Singh told PTI.
According to district officials, while 5,000 hectares are to be acquired for the entire project, the first phase of the airport will be spread over 1,334 hectares and is expected to be completed by 2023.
So far, the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration had acquired 745 hectares and transferred its possession to the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), the officials said.
District Magistrate BN Singh said it was a "small section" of farmers that had already approached the Allahabad High Court over this issue.
"On one hand, they are petitioners in a case, which is yet to be heard by the court of law, on the other, they are taking the law into their hands. It's not fair," he said.
The administration has already acquired a majority of the land required for the first phase and the process would continue, he said.
"The administration has also filed its reply in the court over the farmers'' petition for increased compensation," Singh added.
Jewar-Greater Noida MLA Dhirendra Singh too termed the farmers'' protest unjustified, saying they should wait for the court''s verdict.
"The group had approached the high court. Several of their petitions were dismissed while some are still pending. People should wait for the court''s order. The protest is not justified," he said.
He added that it was not fair for "a handful of people" to use such tactics as it impacted growth of farmers and the poor in the region.
"All guidelines of the land acquisition law have been followed. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had got Rs 500 increased in compensation. Any further increase will take away the financial viability of the project, which will provide job opportunities to the locals," Singh said.
The Jewar airport, second in the National Capital Region after Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, will be spread over 5,000 hectares and cost around Rs 15,754 crore.
It is touted to have six to eight runways, maximum in India, when fully built, the officials said.