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State unwilling to bail out Mukesh

A day after the Supreme Court ruling on the Mumbai Special Economic Zone promoted by industrialist Mukesh Ambani, revenue minister Patangrao Kadam said the state would not interfere in the situation, reports Satyajit Joshi.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2009 02:22 IST
Satyajit Joshi

A day after the Supreme Court ruling on the Mumbai Special Economic Zone promoted by industrialist Mukesh Ambani, revenue minister Patangrao Kadam said the state would not interfere in the situation.

The Supreme Court on Friday had refused to grant more time to MSEZ to acquire 10,000 hectares of land required for the trade zone at Raigad.

Since it was cleared in 2005, MSEZ has managed to acquire only 20 per cent of the land from over 45 villages.

As per the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the acquisition procedure lapses between June 9 and July 26, leaving MSEZ no time to wrap up.

The fate of the Rs 40,000 crore project now rests with the state.

In an informal chat with reporters in Pune, Kadam hinted that the state was unlikely to go out of its way to bail out the project by either speeding up the acquisition procedures or amending the law.

“We have always believed that any transaction of land for SEZ should be with the consent of both parties and no force should be applied while acquiring the land from the farmers,’’ Kadam asserted.

He added that his government supported the argument that irrigated land should not be acquired for SEZ.

At least 22 of the 45 villages had claimed that their land fell within the command area of Hetawane dam and so should not be acquired. This had led to a referendum in 22 villages, opposing the MSEZ.

Kadam said the result of the referendum would be made public within a week and the state would soon take a decision whether these villages could be a part of the MSEZ.

At ground zero, where district administration could speed up the acquisition work, Collector Nipun Vinayak is on leave.

“The acquisition process has been slow. We are awaiting orders from the state secretariat over how to proceed,” said a local official at Raigad, on condition of anonymity.