Davadi farmers pose awkward questions to state government
He's not certain of his age, but Shankar Shevekar acutely remembers handing over his land to the state government five years ago, for development of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in south of Khed taluka
The resident of Davadi village had hoped that his children would get employment once industries came up in the area. However, his dreams were shattered when his son was ousted from a company -- one among a few set up under the SEZ scheme in the last five years –, offering the reason that there was no work left for him there.
“Without taking us into confidence, the state government has earmarked the SEZ land for building of the international airport,” said Shevekar, who had tendered 18 acres for the SEZ, as part of about 1,222 hectares acquired for the airport. The agriculturist claims that government had cheated him by not keeping its promise of providing employment to his children, and was now reluctant to give back 15 per cent of the land he had supplied for the SEZ.
The affected farmers yesterday met divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh, asking him to convey their demand for 15 per cent developed land to the state government. Like Shevekar, 55-year-old Shashikala Mohore also gave away her 12-acre plot for the SEZ.
“The government is now eyeing my remaining four acres. I am prepared to hand that over too, but I should get at least 80 per cent of the market price as compensation,” she said. Mohore added that her husband was a heart patient, and they had to make do with his meagre pension amount.
In 2008, farmers from Nimgaon, Davadi, Kanersar, Gosasi and Kendur villages of Khed and Shirur talukas, had supplied their land for SEZ, which was developed by Bharat Forge.
“We got the package in 2010, which included the amount of Rs 17 Lakh for each hectare, as compensation. However, we had to fight hard for this too for about two years. When the agreement was done, it was clearly mentioned that we would get back 15 per cent developed land, but nothing tangible has happened yet,” said advisor of Anti-Khed SEZ Airport and Anti-Khed Developers Limited Save Farmers Action Committee Balasaheb Mashere.
“We are expect the government to provide the developed land in the next three months. We would not allow the administration to take further steps in setting up the international airport, unless this demand is met,” said another farmer Devidas Mhasade, who provided 4 acres for the SEZ.
Meanwhile, speaking with MiD DAY, divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said that farmers were demanding that Khed Developers Limited Company, which was formed with 75 per cent shares in the farmers’ name, be dissolved. “I will not put this fresh demand in front of the state government,” he told MiD DAY. On the promise of employment, Deshmukh added that ITI training had already been given to around 500 villagers. He added that it would not be possible to provide all of them with jobs in their respective villages.
Approximate amount of land needed for the airport