The state government has decided to return fertile land that had been notified for a special economic zone (SEZ) by Bharat Forge, close on the heels of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s remark that land acquisition must be done in a manner that does not cause loss of large tracts of productive agricultural land. She has also called for a humane approach while acquiring land.
"The decision to return 583 hectares of horticulture land notified for the Bharat Forge SEZ in Khed-Shirur near Pune has been taken," a revenue department official told HT, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media. "Farmers in six villages – Pur, Warude, Gasasi, Retwadi, Pabal and Chondharwadi – will benefit."
Pune district collector Chandrakant Dalvi confirmed the administration had recommended fertile land be excluded from the Bharat Forge project.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the state is seriously looking into farmers’ complaints. "We have taken the decision to exclude land in some cases, but I don’t have a case-to-case information," he told HT.
Farmers have been protesting the acquisition of fertile land in different parts of the state.
A source close to Chavan said the state had taken the Bharat Forge SEZ decision before Gandhi’s remarks. "But her suggestion is like an order for a Congress government and can expedite decisions in other cases too," he said.