Shivangaon villagers in Maharashtra are thanking their compatriots in Nandigram for showing them the way against, what they call, state oppression.
The government has bought nearly 2,000 hectares from them for a special economic zone and the Multimodal International Passenger and Cargo Hub (MIHAN) project at prices, which the villagers allege, are too low.
On Saturday the women of Shivangaon, aged from 16 to 60, lined up at the village square and cut their long tresses to express their anguish against the state government. Earlier, the village elders and children had done the same to protest against the raw deal given to them.
The Maharashtra Airport Development Company is building a new airport in Shivangaon and its surrounding areas with the help of Singapore-based Changi Airports International.
The project is spread over 4,300 hectares. It comprises an international hub airport, rail and road terminal, hotels, residential area, international school, healthcare centre etc and the SEZ over around 2,086 hectares.
Local farmers said the government bought the 2,000 hectares at prices varying between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2.50 lakh per acre, which was not less than the market price. An activist, Baijabai Dhoke said the government should return the land or pay the market price.
Baba Dhawre, who is leading the protest, said the situation in all the nearby villages is volatile and the ongoing movement could turn as another Nandigram. He said they have set the government June 20 as the deadline to resolve the issue.