Villagers unite to oppose Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC)

Updated: Aug 22, 2019, 10:54 IST | Shailesh Bhatia | Mumbai

Speak out after MIDC seeks land records of two villages; local Tahsildar advises against panicking

Villagers have collectively opposed the move. They will be meeting government officials on Thursday
Villagers have collectively opposed the move. They will be meeting government officials on Thursday

If the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has their way, a sizeable chunk of the green cover around Lonavala could be converted in to an industrial hub in the years to come. mid-day is in possession of a circular dated July 22, issued by MIDC, seeking land records of Taje and Pimploli villages, which are situated right next to the famous hill station. However, villagers fear that villages like Boraj, Takve and Gargud are also under MIDC's scanner.

Ganesh Kedari, who heads the local Gram Panchayat, claimed that many villagers have already received notices informing them to vacate their land. "We have taken a collective decision to oppose any such move and we'll be meeting government officials on Thursday. A majority of our people are involved in agriculture, dairy farms and poultry businesses, that is their only source of income."

Great deal of anxiety

"There is a great deal of anxiety in the minds of villagers who are directly or indirectly involved in agriculture sector. In the last 10 days, we have already had two meetings to form a unified voice to oppose the move, which shall be conveyed to the authorities," said Sandeep Thoure, deputy Sarpanch of Pimploli. mid-day has a copy of their complaint letter. Local resident and RTI activist Sunil Gujar alleged that the villagers had already lost around 100 acres of land, which was converted in to a dump yard. "Now, we are likely to lose around 700 acres of land situated between the new and the old Mumbai-Pune highway, which is on the bank of the river Indrayani, and around 2,500 acres in and around Taje and Pimploli," he claimed.

'Don't get into panic mode'

Speaking to mid-day, Ranjit Desai, the Tehsildar of Maval, confirmed that MIDC indeed has a proposal to acquire land, which is in its initial stages where 7/12 land records are being collected from many villagers, but the actual area or number of people who will be affected is not known yet. "A lot of rumours are floating around. People should not get into panic mode as even after MIDC expresses desire to acquire land, an official memorandum will have to be published, after which due process will have to be followed, which again is a lengthy process based on official norms," he said.

Meanwhile, Avinash Hadgal, the regional manager of MIDC (Pune), whose name and signature appears on the official circular, denied any plans to acquire land in Pimploli, but admitted that notices under chapter 6, which is to notify that particular land is needed for a public purpose, or for a company, have been issued to some villagers in Taje. "This process started a couple of months ago," he said. Asked about why MIDC was seeking land records of other villages, he asked this reporter to send him the circular on WhatsApp before he could respond. A similar response was given by Bhushan Pawar, CPRO, MIDC, who stated that he could only comment after getting the requisite information from their Pune division.

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