Mumbai: Although Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) claimed farmers are proactively coming forward to sell their agricultural land for Samruddhi Corridor, it was revealed that farmers who sold their land at Thane on Saturday are relatives of Shiv Sena and BJP leaders.
Eknath Shinde, minister for MSRDC, organised a second “event” of signing of purchase agreement with farmers belonging to Shahapur tehsil of Thane district who surrendered their agricultural land to the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor on Saturday at the Thane collectorate. Apart from Shinde, collector Dr Mahendra Kalyankar and Kiran Kurandkar, assistant managing director of MSRDC, were present.
At Thane, Ganpat Dagadu Dhamane, resident of Hiv village in Shahapur sold his 70 guntha (1 acre = 40 guntha) land to MSRDC. Daulat Shivram Dhanake from the same village sold his 85 guntha land and Ganesh Pandurang Raut, resident of Vashala (Shahapur), sold his 43 guntha land to MSRDC in the presence of minister Shinde.
Interestingly, Ganesh Raut is Shiv Sena’s Shahapur Taluka chief and a land agent. His job is to purchase or make power of attorney of land from land owner and sell it to the needy including government machineries. Ganpat Dhamane is the father of Anant Dhamane who is the vice president of BJP Yuva Morcha for Shahapur taluka. He is also deputy sarpanch (village chief).
Baban Harne, chief of Sangharsh Samiti, claimed these farmers travelled on a vehicle owned by Akash Sawant, Sampark Pramukh (in-charge) of Shiv Sena. “When the team of Shiv Sainiks went to farmers and forced them to sell their land to the corridor, how can farmer oppose them? The minister is pressuring farmers through his ‘special team’ of sainiks,” Harne said.
He added the farmers were given compensation at the equivalent to Rs 40 lakh per acre by MSRDC. “This is the market rate of the land at Vashala and Hive. Then what about the assurance by the minister that five times more compensation than market rate will be offered to the farmers?” asked Harne.
He said this is just eyewash. Efforts of the minister, MSRDC, their land agent and co-ordinator did not work and failed to convince farmers to give up their land during the past one year.
Sangharsh Samiti has decided to hold protest on July 20 at Shahapur. Also, non-political gathering of members of Samruddhi-affected farmers will gather next week in Nasik where a state-level committee will be formed and the next course of action will be decided.
Farmers meet Uddhav
Farmers from Sabjimandi and Maliwada from Aurangabad district met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday. They informed Thackeray that their perennial agricultural land will be acquired for Samruddhi Corridor by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). The land measurement has already been completed and the process of land acquisition has begun, the farmers said.
Thackeray assured them and instructed MSRDC minister Eknath Shinde not to acquire these lands. Shinde said the Malaysian government has shown interest in construction of the corridor. Meanwhile, Sangharsh Samiti has decided to hold protest march on Vidhan Bhavan on August 10. The decision was taken in a meeting held at Nasik on Monday.