Maharashtra govt. forcibly acquiring land for Samruddhi expressway, claims Opposition

Not a single inch acquired by force: minister

December 20, 2017 12:45 am | Updated 12:45 am IST - NAGPUR

The Congress and NCP on Tuesday accused the State government of forcible land acquisition for its ambitious Samruddhi expressway project.

Congress and NCP MLCs listed a question during question hour in the Legislative Council over the alleged betrayal of farmers during land acquisition.

In a written reply to the question, State Public Works (Public Undertaking) Minister Eknath Shinde denied any forcible acquisition, and said the land was being acquired after proper negotiations with farmers.

Senior Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap, however, alleged that the minister had provided incorrect statistics in his reply. Congress MLC Husna Banu Khaliphe also claimed the written reply was “factually wrong” as the project has witnessed open protests. “The landowners are being threatened (to sell land to the government),” she said.

Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt said the ground reports were different from the government’s version. “We are not opposed to development, but it should have a human face. Surveys were conducted forcibly in Shahapur and Amravati. The farmers are being asked to sell their land now. They are being told that if they don’t sell it now, their land would be snatched and they won’t get any compensation in future. Why is this land acquisition not being done according to the Centre’s Land Acquisition Act? All other projects are being ignored because of this project. Why do you want to do it despite the State having such a high debt?” Mr. Dutt asked.

The NCP’s Dhananjay Munde, leader of Opposition in the Council, also claimed that he had received complaints of atrocities by the police against landowners. “All we want is proper compensation to the farmers. This land acquisition is being done forcibly and not with the farmers’ consent. I can provide details of police atrocities in writing to the House. Why is such insistence (for this project)?” Mr. Munde asked.

Responding to the allegations, Mr.Shinde said, “Out of 392 villages (slated for land acquisition), the work of measurement has been completed in 380 villages. Only 12 villages are opposing (the project) and we are having discussions with them. There is no measurement work in these villages. We have stopped our work wherever we faced opposition. Not a single inch of land has been acquired using force. Proper consent is being taken and five times (rate of land) compensation is being provided. Even if a single farmer complains publicly, we will look into it. We are giving more compensation than what is given under the Centre’s Act,” the minister told the House.

Mr. Shinde said the State government had enough money to fund this project.

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