The haphazard land acquisition for special economic zones in Raigad district hasn’t gone well with some senior Maharashtra Cabinet ministers. Rehabilitation Minister Patangrao Kadam who heads a rehabilitation authority made his resentment known at the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister and in-charge minister of Raigad district Sunil Tatkare and Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar supported Kadam’s stand.
The farmers are opposing land acquisition in Raigad where Reliance Industries Ltd (Mukesh Ambani group) is building twin SEZ while Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is constructing a mega power project.
Kadam told Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to dissolve the authority under him alleging that he was informed about land acquisition in the particular area.
Kadam took objection to the Reliance Industry officials working from the Raigad Collector office. “Some retired officers have joined the SEZ companies and they easily influence the serving officials,” he said.
Recently, the Reliance officers were found working from the Raigad Collectorate when the office was closed on account of holiday. When countered by media, District Collector Dadasaheb Zagde revealed that the private officials were helping the government agency in acquiring the land. He also informed that Reliance had provided furniture to the said office.
Kadam, the arch political rival of Deshmukh, asked CM to stop all irregularities as the officials were denting the guidelines issued by the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
“Soniaji has asked all states – especially the Congress-led government to give land acquisition a human face. But here in Raigad we’re not abiding her diktat,” a fumung Kadam was reported to have told Deshmukh.
Sources said Pawar and Tatkare who belong to the Nationalist Congress Party were particularly perturbed over farmer protests in Raigad where their party has considerable base. “They fear that the anti-government agitations would dent party’s growing influence.”