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Raigad SEZ challenged in high court

The opposition surrounding the SEZ promoted by the Reliance Industries in Raigad, Maharashtra – MahaMumbai SEZ has finally reached the Bombay HC.

business Updated: Jun 07, 2007 23:56 IST
Urvi Mahajani
Urvi Mahajani
Hindustan Times

The opposition surrounding the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) promoted by the Reliance Industries in Raigad in Maharashtra – MahaMumbai SEZ – has finally reached the Bombay High Court. Six residents of different villages in Penn, Uran and Panvel tehsil have filed a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the acquisition process of their lands for the project.

The Government is acquiring land in 45 villages in Pen, Uran and Panvel talukas of Raigad district for the Mahamumbai SEZ promoted by Reliance. After the opposition, the Reliance had announced a rehabilitation package offering Rs 25 lakh per hectare.

The PIL states as per the Land Acquisition Act (LAA), government can acquire land only for public purpose. The only exception available in the LAA is that if any private company wishes to acquire, then it can only be used for construction of houses for its employees.

This land is purely for private purpose and hence the land acquisition is violating the LAA, states the PIL. Also, this acquisition in the guise of SEZ policy is only to facilitate private companies to enable them to reap profit, alleges the PIL.

Besides, as per the policy, land under cultivation cannot be acquired. In this case, the lands earmarked for acquisition purpose are all under cultivation. These lands give two crops in a year, adds the PIL.

The PIL also points out that the government has implemented two irrigation projects in Raigad recently.

Some of the lands in these villages are already reserved for different purposes. Some land at Khopta village is reserved for a project of Cidco. Several acres in Uran and Panvel are reserved as Green Zones. As per the SEZ policy, areas reserved for green zones cannot be acquired.

The PIL prays that the proposed project be quashed. The matter is likely to come up for hearing before division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice SC Dharmadhikari next week.

First Published: Jun 07, 2007 23:48 IST