As farmers supported by the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghathana again took to the streets on the issue of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Khed, local Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil claimed the state industry minister has already signed the order for de-listing 1,866 hectares of land from the project.
Patil said the move will remove the rights of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) from the land records of the farmers whose land was initially acquired for the project.
Spread over 1,705 hectares of land in Khed taluka of Pune district, the land for the SEZ was acquired by the MIDC back in 2006-07. Official notification had appended the rights of MIDC on the land records of the neighbouring villages for Phase II and III of SEZ, but the land acquisition of it was not done. However, villagers had pointed out how the entry of MIDC’s rights on their land records have prevented them for either developing or selling their lands. The SEZ is being developed by the Khed Economic Infrastructure Private Limited (KEIPL). Bharat Forge has 74 per cent shares in KEIPL, while MIDC has 26 per cent shares.
In March, Swabhimani Paksha MP Raju Shetti had conducted a 50 km long march to highlight the issue. Shetti, who was accompanied by the affected farmers, had also held a series of meeting with the state government to highlight the situation. Shetti had claimed that the farmers whose land was acquired for the first phase of the SEZ were yet to get back the 15 per cent developed land which was promised to them in the original Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R) package. The chief minister had announced in June that the names of the affected farmers whose land records would be freed from MIDC was finalized and the process of deletion of the names would take place soon.
Patil said that the state industries minister Subhash Desai had signed the order to strike off MIDC’s name from the land records of 1,866 hectares of land on September 2. “The process of promulgation of the official government resolution (GR) is underway and it will be out soon,” he said. Blaming the Swabhimani Paksha of trying to gain politically from the process, Patil said he is following up the issue consistently.
Meanwhile, Yogesh Pand, spokesperson of Swabhimani Paksha, said that they are demanding the government acquire the 15 per cent developed land which is promised to the farmers at four times the present cost. “Legally, the land belongs to the farmers and instead of asking it back we want the government to acquire it at the terms specified by the new Land Acquisition Bill,” he said.
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