VILLAGERS FROM in and around Bhiwandi who opposed sale of their land for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train project, have now agreed for the same, provided their demands are met. Thane collector’s office received their assent on the land survey process for the 61 hectare on Friday, sources said.
Residents of Anjur, Haivedive and Bharodi villages had been protesting against the land acquisition since the process of land survey began in May 2018, civic authorities said. Thane collector Rajesh Narvekar confirmed that the villagers had agreed to work with the authorities. “Villagers agreed on Friday to start the land measuring process,” he said.
The villagers, who had formed a committee to fight against the land acquisition had several demands, including skilled high-position jobs for the kin of those who will give up their land, sources said. “We accepted some of the demands, conversation on more is open. We will not do anything without their consent,” said a senior divisional officer.
Villagers also demanded that the committee that which will decide the rates of land to be paid to them should include their members. “At present, our approval is only for the measurement of the land to begin. We are not going to be pushed around by the authorities. We have demanded that our family members get skilled management jobs and not just menial jobs at the car shed. We also want a service road or a flyover connecting Bharodi to Dombivali. We are not against progress, but it should not be at the cost of us Bhoomiputras,” said Ravi Mahale, a resident of Anjur village.
According to civic authorities, measuring of the 61 hectare belonging to over 131 farmers will be done between January 17 and 19. “Several meetings were held between farmers and the authorities.The land being acquired is for the corridor along with the depot or car shed,” said an officer at the Thane collector’s office.
The Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor is expected to pass from Thane and Palghar. The acquisition process started in May 2018, when Thane collector Rajesh Narvekar published an advertisement for the same. However, the residents of Bharodi, Haivedive, Anjur and other villages in and around Bhiwandi and Shilphata were against the proposal, as they believed that the bullet train would not benefit them in anyway and they would lose out on their lands, which provide most with their bread and butter.