The 15 per cent developed land which was to be handed back to the farmers after development at the Khed Special Economic Zone, is apparently stuck due to high cost of stamp duty.
This was revealed in a meeting agitating farmers and representatives of Khed Developers Limited (KDL) in Pune Wednesday. KDL officers claimed that the company was yet to receive the 15 per cent developed land from the parent holding company Khed Economic Infrastructure Private Limited (KEIPL) due to high stamp duty cost.
After the meeting, farmers have demanded that a special general body of the company be constituted to take all its decisions.
Located in the Khed taluka of Pune district, the Khed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is spread over 1705 hectares of land. Land was acquired by the MIDC in 2006-07 and was to be developed by the KEIPL, which is a joint venture between Bharat Forge Limited (74 per cent) and MIDC ( 26 per cent).
The site had seen agitation by farmers, led by Swabhimani Paksha MP Raju Shetti. Shetti had alleged that the company had failed to fulfill many of the promises made to the farmers during the land acquisition.
One of the main issues raised by the farmers and Shetti was the alleged failure of the company to return 15 per cent of the developed land back to the farmers.
Shetti had claimed that this was part of the original relief and rehabilitation package offered to the farmers. “KEIPL had formed KDL with that land bank as its capital asset,” said Yogesh Pande, a spokesperson of Swabhimani Paksha.
Pande, who was present for the meeting, alleged that KDL representatives said they are yet to receive the clear title of the land from KEIPL. “Apparently, the stamp duty of Rs 29 crores involved in the process has stopped the transfer,” he said.
Officers of MIDC, who were also present during the meeting said that the question of stamp duty has risen as KEIPL has applied for exit from the SEZ.
“Stamp duty is exempted for companies within the SEZ, but as both KDL and KEIPL have started their process of exit, stamp duty will be levied,” said a senior MIDC officer. Apparently, the process of land transfer was initiated earlier but was stuck in legal process
“The company should unlink itself from KEIPL and give back the land to farmers. Farmers who decide to stay with the company can do so, but those who wish to leave should be allowed to do so,” said Pande.
The next meeting between the two groups is stated to be held in the city next Wednesday.