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Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor: Reluctant to give up their irrigated land, farmers suggest alternative alignment

Meet MSRDC MD R Mopalwar who vows to look at other options to save their land

Mumbai News, Maharashtra News, Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor, Farmers land, MSDRC, Indian express news, India News The construction of the Super Expressway will make the farmers lose their irrigated land in the area

Farmers from Sinnar and Igatpuri talukas trooped to the Maharashtra State Road Develo-pment Corporation (MSRDC) office, along with their MLA Manikrao Kokate, to protest the loss of their land for construction of the Maharashtra Samruddhi Corridor (MSC). The construction of the Super Expressway will make the farmers lose their irrigated land in the area. Hearing the farmers’ grievance, MSRDC MD R Mopalwar promised to look at other alternatives to save their land.

“Our discussion with them has yielded a positive response. We have suggested them an alternative alignment that will go over mountains and forest land. This will not only save our land but will also save them a lot of money. With our homes and wells, the cost of our land will be much higher. There will be no loss of tree cover as there aren’t many trees there; it is mainly exposed rock. We are not against the construction of the highway, but we will not let them take away our irrigated land,” said Kokate. The alternative alignment suggested by the farmers goes very close to the Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary and thus declared unfeasible by MSRDC.

“If we are to change our route, we will be entering the buffer zone of the sanctuary and we will not get the permissions for that. Today, we are outside Kalsubai by exactly 100 metres. We instead suggested that we will make an elevated road on that stretch. This will reduce our footprints to the least possible and we will require only half the land. They have 60 wells in these lands and elevated road will protect the wells also. We will continue our discussions with them and examine what best we can do for them,” said Mopalwar.

Of the 21,000 hectares required to build the Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, 399 hectares is forest land, 17,499 hectares is agricultural land and 2,922 hectares is unused land. In the 710-km stretch around eight kilometres will pass through irrigated land. The Sinnar-Igatpuri farmers will together be losing around 46 hectares of land together. On this land, farmers grow grapes, pomegranates and vegetables like onion and potatoes among other crops. Their lives and family depend on this land.

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“The construction of this highway has wreaked havoc in our lives. We constantly live in the fear of losing our land and our family’s peace is lost. It is a mental torture. Farmers have begun carrying poison in their pockets now,” says Shantaram Dhokne, a grape farmer from the area. Like other farmers, they too complain of pressure from officials to surrender their land. “The measurement surveys are conducted with intense police presence and on our slightest protest we are lathicharged. Cases have been filed against 42 people in our villages to prevent them from protesting,” says Namdeo Arote.

“There are many dams in our area. Only when the water from these dams reach all the fields will there be true development and not by constructing these highways,” said Kero Pawar. The Rs 30,000-crore project will pass through Nagpur, Buldhana, Amravati, Wardha, Washim, Thane, Aurangabad, Akola, Bhiwandi and Nashik districts and will cut down the travel time between Nagpur and Mumbai by half.

First published on: 04-05-2017 at 03:02:59 am
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