Farmers and representatives of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), who have been agitating for two years for the return of 15 per cent developed land in Khed SEZ, have claimed a breakthrough. On Monday, post their meeting with Ajit Deshmukh, regional officer of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), the agitating farmers have claimed that the Khed Economic Infrastructure Private Limited (KEIPL) has agreed to meet the demand.
The issue of return of developed land and various other matters related to the Khed SEZ was taken up by SSS leader and MP Raju Shetti last year. Shetti had also taken out a 50-km march from Khed to Pune to highlight the issues.
Shetti’s agitation had resulted in the chief minister assuring that excess land would be converted to free holdings. A major demand of Shetti was the return of 15 per cent developed land, which amounts to around 183 hectares. Shetti had alleged that the developed land was not given to farmers and instead used as capital for Khed Developers Limited (KDL).
Speaking to the media, Deshmukh said that the agitators and representatives of KEIPL had discussed the matter in depth. “Of the three options given to KEIPL, the company has chosen to go with the first one, i.e. return the developed land to the farmers,” he said, adding that another meeting on the issue would be held on April 18.
SSS spokesperson Yogesh Pande said that the issue affects more than 900 farmers mainly in four villages in Khed and one in Shirur. Spread over 1,222 hectares, the SEZ had seen MIDC acquiring land in 2006-07.
KEIPL is a joint venture between Bharat Forge (74 per cent) and MIDC (26 per cent). The rehabilitation package offered to farmers at that time included Rs 17 lakh per hectare of acquired land and 15 per cent developed land.
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