After the government recently denotified two major special economic zone (SEZ) projects in Gurgaon, farmers of five villages whose land was acquired on the promise of development and employment opportunities for the youth sat on a dharna on Wednesday, demanding return of their land.
The Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Haryana SEZ and the IT SEZ of Parsvnath Infra Limited on Gurgaon-Sohna Road were denotified by the Board of Approval (BoA), headed by the Union Commerce Secretary, on June 12.
The Reliance project, a sector-specific SEZ for multi services at villages Mohammadpur Jharsa, Gharauli Khurd, Khandsa and Harasru in Gurgaon district was notified in 2007 over an area of 440.71 hectares. The Parsvnath IT SEZ, on the other hand, was also notified the same year over an area of 42.4 hectares on Gurgaon-Sohna Road.
Nathu Ram, former sarpanch of Mahomandpur village, said, “We were promised that one member from each family will get a job in the industries which were to come up in the SEZ. We have not only lost our land but also all prospects of development. We were short-changed by the government which paid us approximately Rs 20.76 lakh per acre back in 2006 whereas the present market price of the land is around Rs 3-4 crore.”
Another former sarpanch of Garauli Khurd village, Kartar Singh, said that the SEZ was allowed to take away farmers’ land and benefit the corporates.
“We suspect that government will convert these huge swathes of land into residential zones to benefit private developers,” he said.
According to officials of Reliance, it had offered to return the land more than a year ago and it’s the Haryana government that has to take a final decision in this regard.
“The state cabinet will take a decision in this regard,” said Anurag Rastogi, director, town and country planning, Haryana.