NCP president Sharad Pawar Tuesday expressed serious reservations over the state government’s Rs 46,000-crore Samruddhi Corridor project, questioning the process of land acquisition and highlighting the protests by project-affected people from various districts. Taking the lead to unite all those opposed to the project under one banner, Pawar has convened a meeting of all such groups on June 12.
Speaking to the media at the NCP office in Mumbai, Pawar said, “ We are not against development. But from what I gather, it is evident that land acquisition guidelines for the project are questionable. Our attempt is to bring all project-affected people under one umbrella. We will discuss the issues with the government. If they do not agree to corrective measures after discussions, we will have to resort to alternatives.”
Representatives of Sangharsh Samitis from the 10 districts that the project will criss-cross held discussions with Pawar on Tuesday.
Sharing his experience as chief minister while the satellite town of Navi Mumbai was being set up, Pawar said, “The process took 30 to 35 years. The Samruddhi Corridor too will not take less than 15 to 20 years. What livelihood will the government provide to the PAP in that duration?”
The NCP leader also raised questions on the role of a section of bureaucrats who are said to have purchased huge parcels of land along the project route.
Pawar also spoke on other farmer-related issues, including the impact of demonetisation on cooperative banks and crop loan waivers. “The district cooperative banks are reeling under financial stress and this will impact their lending powers ahead of the kharif season,” Pawar said.
Reiterating his support for loan waiver to farmers who are debt-ridden and out of the loan bracket, he said, “During my tenure as agriculture minister under former prime minister Manmohan Singh, a Rs 71,000-crore package was given to farmers. If the UP government can give a loan waiver, why not Maharashtra?”
Speaking on his name surfacing for the presidential polls as the opposition candidate, Pawar said, “I have made it clear at all opposition party meetings that we should strive for a consensus candidate for the most coveted post of the country. I have suggested that a committee be formed to take a call on the candidate.”