NAPM Extends Solidarity to the Indefinite Dharna in Raigad District against forced land acquisition for DMIC Project
[See below press Release from Jagatikikaran Vriodhi Kruti Samiti and photos]
New Delhi / Mumbai, April 17 : Supporting the indefinite dharna of the farmers and workers of Raigad district National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has written to the Chief Minister, Maharashtra asking him to stop the forceful land acquisition for the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). Since, April 10th, in Mangaon under the aegis of Sarvahara Jan Andolan – Jagatikikaran Vriodhi Kruti Samiti, farmers and labourers from 69 villages have been sitting on an indefinite dharna with one village coming together each day infront of SDO office. They are protesting since, 9715 families of 69 villages in Maangaon, Roha and Tala Talukas have received notifications for acquisition of a total of 24,207 acres of land for Dighi Industrial Area part of DMIC corridor. In fact total of 67,500 acres from 78 villages of these three talukas are to be acquired. MIDC has already acquired 2000 hectares of land since 1985 at the rate of 20/25,000 Rs per acre, of which land has been given to Jindal, POSCO and others. There is no record of percentage land utilised and unutilised with MIDC, even though in the past fifty years it has acquired more than 13 lakh acres of land. The provisions of MIDC Act is more draconian than Land Acquisition Act, 1894, which leaves little scope for the consent of the affected population.
The current notifications issued to farmers are illegal since the issuing authority SDO does not have the power to issue notifications of land above the price of Rs. 50, 000. However, the current rate as per MIDC’s own notification is Rs. 40 lakhs per acre. Farmers who are protesting this, you may recall, had forced the state government to cancel the Raigad SEZ that was being developed by the Reliance earlier but the land in the same region is now under threat of acquisition once again.
In second – third week of March this year NAPM undertook a yatra along the route of DMIC Corridor starting from Mumbai on Women’s Day and culminating in Delhi on March 18th in a 20,000 strong farmers and workers Mahapanchyat saying no to forced land acquisition and need to address crisis in Indian agriculture. We wonder what is the tearing hurry when a new Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill is near finalisation in the Parliament.
In Aurangabad, under DMIC and associated state government projects, if things go as planned, 234000 hectares land of 362 villages will be acquired in the name of development in a region which is witnessing the worst draught in many years. Most of the ground water and surface water sources, livelihood dependent on agriculture are already under extreme stress. With the plans for the land acquisition for various projects, there will be a disaster in the whole region for the those leaving on the margins, forcing large scale migrations and impoverishment.
In many of the places where DMIC is supposed to come up, neither the people nor the democratically elected representatives are aware of this monstrosity or their consent has been sought. We believe that hard – earned freedom and democratic rights of the people, as enshrined in the Constitution of India are at stake here. Indian Constitution has provided for the state’s mandate to involve and promote role of all citizens in the planning under number of articles, esp. 243-244. However, the DMIC authorities have violated all of these provisions, since the deal and plans have been finalized by the Union and State government and that too by some bureaucrats without consulting the democratically elected bodies.
Forcible acquisition of land in the name of industrial and city development will only lead to development of real estate and land grab, bringing not prosperity, but impoverishment to the existing population. The past experience tells us that claims of employment generation and absorbing the affected remain largely on paper. Transforming the economic pursuits cannot happen overnight, involuntarily. That this plan with huge impacts on the targeted corridor region, esp. the Investment Region and Industrial Areas cannot and should not be finalised without a full-fledged public debate within the directly affected areas at the state level.
NAPM demands that the Government of Maharashtra reviews the whole plan and initiate a public dialogue on the DMIC plan and projects therein. We demand that the state government should pro-actively provide all information about the total plan and projects to the citizens including the affected, and no forced acquisition of land be attempted at any cost.
Farmers of Raigad had earlier forced the cancellation of SEZ and once again they will challenge at any cost the forcible land acquisition. NAPM supports their struggle and stands in their resolve to struggle.
Medha Patkar, Suniti S R, Prafulla Samantara, Dr. Sunilam, Arundhati Dhuru, Vilas Bhongade, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Vijay Diwan, Vimal Bhai, Prasad Bagwe, Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar
Contact: 09818905316 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jagatikikaran Virodhi Kruti Samiti
Indefinite Dharna against forced acquisition for Delhi Mumbai Industrial corridor in Raigad, Maharashtra
Mangon / Mumbai, April 17 : The farmers and workers of Raigad district are on an indefinite dharna in front of Sub divisional office at Mangaon dist. Raigad, Maharashtra since April 10th. They have been served notices for acquisition of their land under the Maharashtra Industrial Corporation Act. 67,500 acres of land is to be acquired for Dighi port industrial area as a node in Proposed Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor. Farmers from 78 villages under Mangaon, Roha and Tala Tahsils would become completely landless.
All the village Panchayats have unanimously resolved not to give their land for this disastrous and pro corporate project, which has been undemocratically planned too. However the state govt. has not taken any cognizance so far. The panchayats have been further asked to surrender their common property lands and give NOC for it’s transfer. This has created a lot of unrest amongst farmers. The individual notices have been issued to six villages and the 7/12 extracts of all the lands in these villages have been stamped and reserved for the proposed corridor.
How are we going to survive if we lose entire land, the only source of our livelihood, ask the farmers. They don’t trust the govt and it’s assurances as the experience in the past has been totally negative. Why govt is in a hurry to grab the lands before the new land acquisition bill gets passed at the Centre which gives space to the farmers to express their opinions, ask the farmers. Despite the directions given by the Union ministry forced and compulsory acquisition is going on. The irrigated as well as good amount of fertile paddy fields are being acquired. This has enraged the farmers further.
The dharna started on 10th April in the presence of Mr. N. D. Patil, and several activists from various parts of the state, under the banner of Jagatikikaran Virodhi Kruti Samiti. Every day one village comes to dharana to express their resolve not to part with their lands, in big numbers with women and children.
Detailed project report of this project has not been prepared yet. Environment impact assessment is also not done. Why the govt is in hurry then? Asks Ulka Mahajan who is leading the struggle. The govt. sources are not ready to disclose any information nor is there any transparency. This creates a lot of doubts in the minds of the farmers.
Sub Divisional officer Mangaon has been appointed as land acquisition authority , who has powers to fix the compensation upto 50,000 Rs. per acre according to the notice issued to the farmers. However the guardian minister of the dist. Mr. Suneel Tatkare, declared that he would try to give 10 lakh rs. per acre. The farmers laugh at this attempt and they don’t want to give the lands even if the compensation is increased. Recently the residents of Raigad presently living in Mumbai got organized and decided to launch agitation against this forced acquisition in Mumbai on 1st May at Azad Maidan.
The dharana would continue till mid May 2013, till every village registers it’s protest. Several groups and associations such as bar association, Patrakar Sangh, doctor’ association, have declared their support to the agitation.
Ulka Mahajan (9869232478)
National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
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