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Repeated protests and an indefinite
hunger strike by a senior Peasants
and Workers' Party leader, N D Patil,
who has been spearheading the
protest, finally forced the
Maharashtra government to consider
the possibility of excluding 22 villages
in Pen taluka from the MahaMumbai
special economic zone (see 'Roll back
SEZ', Down To Earth, July 15, 2008).
On July 26, Chief Minister Vilasrao
Deshmukh announced that his government
would issue public notice
inviting comments on the exclusion of
these villages from the MahaMumbai
SEZ. Since there is a contradiction in
the amount of irrigated land in these
villages, further action would be
taken after receiving the response,
said Deshmukh. Though not fully satisfied,
anti-SEZ protesters and farmers
have welcomed the move."When N D
Patil started his indefinite fast on July
24, we met the chief minister...He
promised us that the irrigated lands
of 22 villages would be excluded from
the MahaMumbai SEZ in accordance
with the Centre's SEZ policy...land
acquisition notices would also be
withdrawn," says Surekha Dalvi of
Shramik Kranti Sanghatana, an anti-
SEZ group. Following the announcement,
Patil has ended his fast but is
under hospital care.