Hyderabad, June 22 (IANS) Mild tension prevailed during Telangana Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao’s visit to Zaheerabad in Sangareddy district on Wednesday as the farmers staged a protest demanding fair compensation for the lands acquired for National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ).

Police had to use mild force to control the protestors ahead of Rao’s visit to lay the foundation stone for a defence unit.

As the protestors tried to proceed towards the venue, police carried out a baton charge to disperse them. A couple of farmers were injured in the incident.

Police had closed the roads leading to Zaheerabad from various villages in Jharasangam and Nyalkal mandals to prevent locals from staging any protest during the programme.

The state government is developing the NIMZ over 12,635 acres and on Wednesday, KTR, as the minister is popularly known, laid the foundation stone for VEM Technologies’ defence manufacturing unit which is coming up on 511 acres.

Speaking at the event, he asked the district authorities and public representatives to ensure that those losing lands to NIMZ are adequately compensated. “If possible, pay them more compensation by going out of the way,” he said.

The minister also wanted the district administration and the industry to make sure the farmer families whose lands are acquired get employment in NIMZ.

“Every family losing land to NIMZ should get employment in NIMZ, then they will cooperate. The industry also has to work with us. They are losing gold-like land and this will naturally cause pain but if they are assured their future generation will get jobs in NIMZ, they will come forward (to give lands),” he said.

KTR urged VEM Technologies to give preference to locals in employment in semi-skilled and unskilled categories. “This will be a win-win situation for both you and local youth.

“For industry to be in consonance with locals and local ecosystem is extremely important in terms of the longevity of the project.”

The minister welcomed a proposal by VEM Technologies to set up a skill centre for locals to train them for jobs in their unit. The company will bear 50 per cent of the cost for the proposed centre.