Wardrobe policing: Farmers in boxers not allowed to set foot in Mantralaya

Mumbai: Like Mahatma Gandhi was ridiculed for shedding his clothes and only wearing a dhoti at all times, police deployed the state secretariat, Mantralaya donned the role of wardrobe police and refused entry to semi-clad farmers who wanted to meet the industry minister.  The semi-nude farmers who have been protesting on being forced to give up their lands for irrigation project and the national highway in Satara district, have remained firm on their demand to meet the industries minister Subhash Desai in Mantralaya on Monday.

The police however, prevented the farmers outside Mantralaya, were dumped inside a police van and till they wore their clothes, were not allowed to go near the state secretariat. The police drove around in circles until the six farmers who had come to meet the minister were fully clothed.  The delegation of six farmers had come to visit Subhash Desai, the industries minister. Meanwhile, taking advantage of this situation, Desai tried to corner the revenue minister Chandrakant Patil in this land acquisition row.

Around 200 farmers from Khandala tehsil had marched in their hot pants to Mantralaya only on their undergarments. They were stopped at Mankhurd on Sunday and on Monday, Desai interacted the six farmers led by Pramod Jadhav. Jadhav demanded Patil initiate probe against the concern officers and Satara district collector. Desai blamed the revenue minister Patil for delaying the land acquisition process. Desai later assured the farmers that the government will not acquire the lands for which claims and objections have been lodged.

Desai, later speaking to media said the government has assured the farmers, the farmers will be given alternative land with their due consent for giving up lands for the development of the proposed Industrial zone. He added, “The farmers who still left uncovered under Khandala phase – 1 will be given 15 percent returnable land under Khandala phase- 2. The land of the farmers who have raised objections, will not be acquired.”

Desai further said, “The farmers whose agrocultural lands have been acquired for the industrial zone will be given alternative lands. Those lands coming under Khandala phase- 3, which come under the command area of the Neera Devghar project will be omitted. The farmers will be given that much of the area of land proportionate to the acquired land which is under the possession of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).” He informed that in the Khandala industrial zone, out of the 3,926 jobs, 2,489 jobs have been given to the locals and more jobs will be given to locals as per the stated government policy.

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