With the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) starting the land acquisition process for Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor (MSC) in Nagpur from Thursday, farmers from Thane district will be next in line to hand over their land for the project. Three farmers from Shahapur taluka will hand over their land on Saturday. The beginning of the land acquisition process is being seen as a landmark step for the project that has faced stiff opposition from farmers in Thane and Nashik districts where they expressed unwillingness to give up land— much of which is irrigated — for the project.
“We are hoping that more farmers will come forward to offer their land after the initial three. When they (the other farmers) see that the farmers (who hand over their land) are receiving cash immediately, they will get more confident about the project,” said Kiran Kurundkar, Joint Managing Director, MSRDC. The MSRDC is optimistic about receiving good response for the project from Thane district.
“Of the 38 villages in Thane district, we have declared land rates for seven and we have received 100 per cent consent in these villages. The three farmers will be handing over around five acres of land on Saturday,” said Revati Gaikar, the Thane Deputy Collector. The MSRDC will require 10,000 hectares of land to construct the 701-km super communication expressway between Nagpur and Mumbai.
It is expected that more than 20,000 farmers would be affected. “We are expecting to spend up to Rs 10,000 crore in land compensation for the project. Of this, we have already made financial closure for Rs 7,000 crore. We plan to complete the land acquisition process in the next two months,” said Kurundkar.
Baban Harne, a farmer and an activist from Shahapur taluka, condemned the government’s move. “When ministers are going to go against the famers’ wishes and support the project, farmers will instantly feel the pressure to give up their land. Anyway, getting land from three farmers is no big achievement for them. We are not against development but it should not be at the cost of our irrigated land,” he said.