Mogharpada land leased to us, will not allow Metro car shed, say farmers
The hurdle in the Metro line 4 from Wadala to Kasarvadavli seems to be never-ending.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) plan to shift the Metro car shed from Owala to Mogharpada has met with opposition.
Residents of Mogharpada, fear losing their land to the government. Around 200 farmers said that though the land is the government’s, it was leased to them by the government in 1960 for cultivation.
The farmers claimed farming and fishing is their main occupation and if the MMRDA goes ahead with the car shed plan, they will attempt mass suicide in protest.
Around 167 farmers have entered their name in the 7x12 extract by paying a premium, with the permission of the district collector. Around 25 to 30 farmers have not done so.
The farmers claimed that while they have only received notices from the authorities, there is no clarity on compensation.
RA Rajeev, MMRDA commissioner, did not reply to calls and messages.
Officials said the Mogharpada land is a government land that was leased to locals. An MMRDA official said, “We are not aware of the opposition as it is a government land which was leased to the farmers for a few years.”
MMRDA has shifted the car shed for Metro line 4 from Owala to Mogharpada as the land in Mogharpada is a government land while the Owala land has thousands of trees that would have had to be cut for the project.
The Owala site also had land belonging to private players, which the government would have had to acquire for the project.
As the land acquisition cost in Owala is higher than that of Mogharpada, it was decided to shift the car shed.
Sanjay Patil, 48, a resident of Mogharpada, said, “In 1960, the collector gave the land to around 200 farmers. Each of us got 64 ghunta land to cultivate. For decades, we have saved the land from encroachment and used it only for farming. The creek water used to enter the land, so we constructed a check dam from our own expense. The collector also allowed us to change the ownership of the land by paying a premium so around 167 of us have our own 7x 12.”
Patil added that in the past two months, they suddenly got notices that the land would be taken for Metro car shed.
Anil Thakur, 51, another farmer, said, “There was no clarity on compensation for the farmers in the notice. They have tried to survey the land twice and we have not allowed them to carry out the survey. If they go ahead with the car shed project, we will all commit suicide.”
Mogharpada has a population of 4,000 people and 1,200 families.
Hemalata Bhoir, 55, a resident, said, “The rice cultivated on the farm is enough to last throughout the year. We are not against the Metro project. We need clarity on what will we get in exchange for the land. There are government lands in Patlipada, Mumbra and Kalwa which are encroached by slums. The authority can use that land too, but they will not antagonise the slum dwellers.”