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Mumbai-Nagpur highway: Protesting farmers to march to Vidhan Bhavan in August

The project affected farmers across ten districts have grouped themselves together to form a 35-member led committee to lead the opposition to the highway

mumbai Updated: Jul 18, 2017 13:31 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Mumbai-Nagpur supercommunication highway,farmers
The decision to intensify the protests comes even as the state government had announced ‘competitive land prices’ for acquiring land in a direct settlement with the farmers.(HT FILE)

Farmers, who have been protesting against land acquisition for the ambitious Rs46,000-crore Mumbai-Nagpur super communication highway, will now march against Fadnavis-led government on August 10.

The project affected farmers across ten districts have grouped themselves together to form a 35-member led committee to lead the opposition to the highway. The protest march on August 10 will see hundreds of farmers walk to Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai.

The decision to intensify the protests comes even as the state government had announced ‘competitive land prices’ for acquiring land in a direct settlement with the farmers. In a bid to show the farmers have reacted positively to the land rates, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, the nodal agency started registering sale deeds with a few farmers in every district.

“For the past one year, we have been protesting against this project. We have used all legal means to register our dissent. We have filed objections under the law with the local administration. We have filed petitions in all three benches of the high court and have met leaders of all political parties. But the state seems to be keen on road rolling this project, so we have decided to intensify our opposition,’’ said Baban Harne, one of the members of this state-level committee.

The farmers committee is not convinced with the land rate offered by the government as compensation and it has also questioned the land acquisition procedure adopted by the state as well as the proposed alignment of the highway.

The706-km proposed eight lane highway passes through ten districts of the state, linking backward regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada with Thane district. Nearly, 10,200 hectares will have to be acquired for the highway and another 10,000 hectares is proposed for building 24 smart cities along the alignment of the highway. Nearly 84 per cent of this land is agricultural.

While both Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have taken a stand in favour of the protesting farmers, the latter are not convinced of their backing.

A Shiv Sena minister heads the department, which is implementing the project and NCP is not seen as reliable party.

The state government is keen on getting the project off the ground by October this year and plans to construct some phases of the highway by the next Assembly polls in 2019.

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 12:29 IST