Mumbai : Even as the cash-strapped Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation has successfully convinced some farmers to sell their land for construction of Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, there is still a major part which are protesting against it. Farmers fear that local politicians and officials will benefit from the project by carrying out irregularities.

Reportedly, around 119 farmers of Hingna at Nagpur district had participated in the process to sign the sale deed. However, some farmers have still not agreed with the government’s project.

The 706-km expressway is supposed to acquire over 3 hectares land in Hingna. The project is running low on funds as the cost has escalated up to Rs 46,000 crore from the estimated Rs 30,000 crore.

One of the farmers from the Nagpur district told the Free Press Journal that the compensation amount in return for the land is comparatively less. “The amount they are offering is very less and farmers are already in a financial crisis. The government should come up with reasonable compensation for farmers. Also, it should assure that the land acquired is utilised for development purposes only.”

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had summoned the chiefs of all five government agencies — Mhada, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) — directing them to chip in Rs 1000 crore each for the expressway, as MSRDC is finding it difficult to fund the project.

Despite facing a major problem to acquire the land as several farmers have opposed the project, the government is adamant on acquiring 10,000 hectares land. According to the project blueprint, the 706-km express way will pass through 10 districts, including Washim, Amravati, Jalna, Aurangabad, Buldhana, Nashik, Ahmednagar, and Thane. The project will include 24 development nodes based on various industries from agro-processing to I-T and a dry port linked to the JNPT port in Raigad district.

The project is apparently one of the biggest projects of the Fadnavis government and has been facing strong opposition from farmers.

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