Maharashtra government offers developed land; villagers unhappy

By Aparna Pallavi
Published: Saturday 17 July 2010

The Maharashtra government has finally cleared the rehabilitation package for the people to be displaced by the controversial MIHAN SEZ Near Nagpur city. The decision has made some concessions to the project affected persons who were demanding 12.5 per cent developed land in lieu of land acquired from them for the cargo hub SEZ. The state cabinet has accepted their demand.

Speaking at a press conference on June 26, Nagpur district's guardian minister Shivajirao Moghe said that the package has been cleared by chief minister Ashok Chavan, and a government resolution to this effect would be brought out shortly.
Besides the 12.5 per cent developed land, project affected people would be allowed to choose between cash compensation for land or equivalent transferable development rights (TDR's) said Moghe. He said that 140 ha of forestland has been earmarked for providing developed land to the affected people. Due to stringent forest laws, implementing the package, pending since the last three years, may be further delayed, he said. The chief minister will talk to the forest department to speed up matters, he added.

Moghe said cash compensation for land has been fixed at Rs 4.5 lakh per hectare (ha). A survey would be undertaken soon to fix the payment.
A large number of project affected persons, organized under the Nagpur Jilha Shetkari Samiti, and led by its president Baba Dawre, had gathered at the venue to stage a demonstration, which was later withdrawn after the announcement of the package.

Asked about the package, Dawre expressed discontent with the government decision. “It is unbelievable that the government is trying to grab this land at a paltry Rs 4.5 lakh per ha, when the land price in the area is about Rs 1 crore or more per ha,” he said while citing recent private deals which have fetched high prices, “When the oustees of the Mouda thermal power project close to Nagpur have been given Rs 8 lakh per 0.4 acre ha, why are the MIHAN SEZ Oustees being singled out for this injustice?” asked Dawre.

Dawre said in protest against the repeated injustices meted out by the government, the residents of Shivangaon and other villages located in the MIHAN SEZ area have this year started cultivating lands they had stopped cultivating since the acquisition was announced. “We are no longer negotiating. We have decided not to give our land at all,” he said.

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