Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, on Saturday, made his stance on the farmers' compensation issue crystal clear. He said the state government would have the Sena's support only if the farmers were satisfied. If at any point the farmers opposed the deal, the Sena would, too, he said.
On Thursday, the land acquisition process was started for the state government's ambitious project to connect Nagpur and Mumbai through the Samruddhi Highway. A sale deed was signed for Rs 2.59 crore for 3.5 hectares to be acquired from six landholders. State minister for public works (public undertakings) Eknath Shinde was present on the occasion, attracting criticism, as many farmers had claimed they were unhappy with the project. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will be constructing the 710-km express highway at a cost of Rs 46,000 crore.
While the project is being developed under the Sena minister, the Sena leadership has said the fertile land that would come in the path of the proposed highway should stay intact, and the Sena would completely back the farmers on this. Thackeray said, "A revised proposal for change in alignment to avoid destroying the fertile land will be given to the state government after discussions with the farmers. We are not opposing the project, but will not allow any forceful land acquisition."
Further, Thackeray has instructed Shinde to check with the farmers whether or not the compensation given to them was acceptable. He has also said if there was a problem with the compensation, it should be resolved.
On criticism of Shinde over his presence during the presenting of the sale deed, Thackeray said the minister had visited the place only to ensure there was no trouble to farmers.
This is not the first time that the Sena, despite being in an alliance with the ruling BJP, has opposed a project. Earlier, too, the Sena had threatened to pull out of the government over other issues.
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