Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti has upped its ante against the extension granted by the ministry of commerce and industry to Reliance Industries-promoted Mumbai SEZ at Raigad by deciding to relaunch its agitation against it.
HT had reported on June 22 that the SEZ, which is spread across 5,000 hectares, had been granted an extension by the ministry's Board of Approval (BOA) till August 2012.
In a press conference held at Pen on Thursday, SEZ Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti chief ND Patil condemned the fresh lease of life given by the BOA to the SEZ, as it would give it one more year to privately acquire land.
“We condemn the BOA for repeatedly granting the SEZ extension despite having seen the thousands of petitions from farmers against it. We also condemn the state for allowing it a backdoor entry though the referendum held by the state in Raigad showed that majority was against the SEZ,’’ said Ulka Mahajan, leader with the samiti. Mahajan said the samiti would challenge the company’s stance that it had acquired more than 1,874 hectares of land in the area.
“We don’t think so much land has been transferred to the company as much of the irrigated lands in the Hetwane dam command area have not been legally transferred,” she said.
The samiti is also hoping that the Water Authority’s recent decision to stop allocating water from the Hetwane dam to three industrial projects including the Mumbai SEZ would help their cause.
A water grant was given to the companies in June 2008, but was not used by either of them in the past three years, so it lapsed on June 30. “We had appealed before the Water Authority and it has ruled in our favour. This means that the water will now be supplied to farmers. So there is no question of them selling the land for SEZ,” said Mahajan.