Farmers use RTI to obtain SEZ documents for agitation
Around 35 hectare land in Shendra of Maharashtra remains the cause of intense meetings as senior officials of the revenue department and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) held another meeting to resolve the issue. Various farmers from villages along the industrial estate who are on the path of agitation have claimed that the land was acquired by irrigation department for creating percolation tanks in order to increase the ground water level. Instead of using it for the purported purpose, the irrigation department transferred it to the MIDC on the payment of Rs 77 lakh and finally it landed in the laps of a private company for setting up a biotechnology SEZ spreading over 100 hectare.
Accusing the administration of acquiring the agricultural land through ‘fraudulent’ means, the farmers have sought the land back. They have also demanded a probe as to how in 2007, the MIDC issued a letter certifying that it has a clear title of possession of the 100 hectares land to the private company. The said private company applied for SEZ and this letter was crucial in the grant of approval for the project. The farmers have argued that the land was not acquired following proper procedure and all the signatures and thumb impressions on agreement copies, possession receipts and other related documents should be investigated for their authenticity. The MIDC and the company has preferred to maintain a low profile and has avoided filing a police complaint against the farmers who continue to occupy the land for the past five days.
Agitations across the nation call for a review of the land acquisition policy for any project, whether in government or in private.