After the historic victory of Raigad farmers against Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani to acquire their land for Maha Mumbai Special Economic Zone, the farmers are now battling for those part of lands already acquired by Mukesh Ambani led Reliance for the project. Many are now questioning the status of the land acquired by the government and Reliance. For the Raigad farmers, the victory against industrial giant Mukesh Ambani to acquire their land for Maha Mumbai Special Economic Zone, was not just a victory but a revolution. After years of battle and protests, the Raigad farmers efforts’ paid off and the state issued a government resolution de-notifying the land acquisition process for the SEZ, clearly indicating that it would not acquire any more land for the SEZ promoted by Reliance Industries Group Chairman Mukesh Ambani. In its notification, it also stated that all land acquired by the government in the past was also to be returned. While this news had brought jubilation to the Raigad farmers, there battle was far from over. One of the social activists, Ulka Mahajan, who has been instrumental in the farmers battle for their land had stated that their next step would be to get back those parts of the land that was acquired by the state and Reliance for the project. Ulka Mahajan added that they would also take back the irrigation water that was diverted by the state from Hetwane dam to facilitate the development work of SEZ. In fact, this fight of the social activists and farmers of Raigad to get their land back is also being taken up at the state level. Shiv Sena MLC Ramdas Kadam, during the state sessions had questioned the status of the acquired lands, now that the SEZ had been cancelled. While the land acquired by the government was handed back to the farmers, the land taken over by Reliance has yet not been returned. On this, the Maharashtra government has assured that a decision on the issue of lands acquired for Reliance Maha Special Economic Zone in Raigad district would be taken soon. Deputy Chief Minister assured that the state would take up the issue in the cabinet meeting and the government would communicate with Relaince to expedite the process of returning back the land to the farmers. For the SEZ project in Raigad, Reliance had acquired 1,505 hectares of land, of the total 8,271 hectares area of the proposed SEZ. As per the state government’s policy, the company cannot use the land for any other purpose except for the project. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
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