MIHAN forced solution comes undone

Project-affected people to file petition for return of land

 
By Aparna Pallavi
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

It was a meeting which promised to draw the final curtain on land acquisition for the MIHAN special economic zone (SEZ) in Nagpur, Maharashtra. But it led to another round of conflict between residents and authorities, belying official claims that the problem, hanging fire for the past several years, has been resolved.

According to district officials, 95 per cent of the land acquisition for  the SEZ, close to the Nagpur airport in the southern part of the city, is complete. The meeting on Monday was meant to resolve the conflict over 135.08 hectares (ha) of land belonging to 188 land owners in Jaitala and Bhamti areas, where residents have consistently refused to part with land.

District officials says 95 per cent of the land acquisition for the SEZ, close to the Nagpur airport in the southern part of the city, is complete
The last meeting was meant to resolve the conflict over 135.08 hectares (ha) of land belonging to 188 land owners in Jaitala and Bhamti areas who are refusing to part with land
Collector Saurabh Rao did not rule out compulsory land acquisition
 
Project-affected persons who attended the meeting in large numbers, were irked when the district collector Saurabh Rao said that the price being offered to them—Rs 1.25 crore per ha—was higher than ready-reckoner rates, and that they should not raise further objections to acquisition. The residents objected to the administration’s compulsory acquisition warning.

Corporator from Jaitala-Bhamti, Praful Gudadhe says that the administration had got hold of the wrong end of the stick as people were not demanding a higher price but opposing land-acquisition altogether. They had also given the administration the alternative of waiting for the enactment of the proposed Land Acquisition and Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act before proceeding with acquisition. The government failed to heed this, he says.

   Related Articles
 
 
The firm stand taken by the residents forced the administration to tone down its stand, but people are not satisfied. Advocate Anil Kale of the citizens' forum MIHAN Prakalpagrasta Nagarik Manch accused the administration of arm-twisting residents. People attending the meeting staged a walkout after the officiating divisional commissioner and the joint managing director of the Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited (MADC), left the meeting without warning.

Gudadhe accused MADC of facilitating land-grab in MIHAN by real estate companies like Reatox by acquiring it cheap from farmers, because of which it had received a show-cause notice from the ministry of commerce. He says that residents are in the process of filing a public interest petition against land acquisition and cited the instance of Noida Extension near Delhi where the court ordered the government to return acquired land.

Collector Rao says it is too early to decide future course of action, but did not rule out compulsory land acquisition, saying that would be the last resort. Pravin Darade, joint managing director of MADC, appealed to the citizens of Nagpur to decide whether they want MIHAN. He also ruled out waiting for the proposed Land Acquisition Act to come into force because that would be time consuming.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.