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be excluded from the MahaMumbai SEZ in accordance with the Centre's SEZ policy...land acquisition notices would also be withdrawn," says Surekha Dalvi of Shramik Kranti Sanghatana, an anti- SEZ group.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.
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