A year ago, Mukand Bhaule barely made `2-3 lakh annually from his 12-acre farm and a few cattle.
Today, this 35-year-old farmer is the owner of a construction firm that is developing a mid-size residential complex near his village Karmad, 30 km from Aurangabad.
Like Bhaule, 300 other farmers struck gold when their land was acquired for the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). Each received compensation of `23 lakh per acre. They invested in houses and cars; the village now has 200 cars, mostly SUVs.
Little wonder then that people here are unfazed by the ‘Narendra Modi wave’ and are rooting for Congress.
“We don’t care about Modi. The real work has been done by Congress government for us. We have a lot of hopes riding on this project because it will change life for our future generations. I set up a firm with some engineer friends and we have sold 23 out of the 36 odd flats already,” said Bhaule.
Karmad is one of 18 villages along the Shendre-Bidkin belt near Aurangabad that, under the DMIC project, will get transformed into new age industrial cities and hubs. In Phase I of the project, 555 hectares of land was acquired and compensation process completed.
The villages fall in Jalna Lok Sabha constituency, where BJP’s three-time MP Raosaheb Danve is seeking reelection. The Congress has fielded newcomer Vilas Autade, son of the party’s Aurangabad district chief, against him.
Since June last year, plush houses, cyber cafes, hardware stores and a departmental store have come up in Karmad. Realty prices have skyrocketed; an acre now costs `1crore within 3km radius of the village.
Jaganath Taro, who had organised farmers’ groups to negotiate with the government for the right price, said: “The best thing about the deal is that the government has offered to buy back 15% of the developed land at the same price. Several farmers are opting for this to set up shops, small business and two-wheeler agencies to secure a future.”