NCP supremo Sharad Pawar met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday to discuss problems faced by villagers due to Army's KK Range project in Ahmednagar.
Taking to Twitter, Sharad Pawar wrote: "Due to the expansion of the Army's KK Range project, 23 villages in Ahmednagar district are facing many difficulties. The population of these villages is predominantly tribal and their livelihood and security are at stake. With Parner MLA Nilesh Lanke met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today."
In a series of tweets, Sharad Pawar said that the process of allotment of forest land to these tribals has been going on for some time, but due to the expansion of the KK Range practice project they are being denied the land.
"Locals are also being denied loans by nationalized banks and other financial institutions for this reason. Due to the shooting range, no other major project can take place here, which is destroying the source of income for the tribal people," Sharad Pawar tweeted.
Sharad Pawar also brought to light that many locals of Kharekarjun village have lost their lives in the shooting practice. The Army's practice sessions have created panic among the locals.
Sharad Pawar raised these issues before the Defence Minister and demanded that the concerns of the locals be taken into consideration before further expansion of the KK range. "We raised all these issues with the Defence Minister and demanded that the concerns of the locals be taken into consideration as well as postponement of further expansion of the KK range. The Defence Minister said that there would be no more land acquisition for the KK range," NCP supremo tweeted.
Sharad Pawar further said the Defence Minister assured that the decision on using the land for training would be taken after discussions with locals and local authorities. Singh also assured that loans will be made available to farmers and added that no development should be stopped due to lack of loans.
The Kharjuna Khare (KK) Ranges in Ahmednagar, which is spread over 36,000 acres, is used for a number of practice exercises for army officers.