MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Opposition today disrupted the proceedings of the state legislature demanding that industries minister Subhash Desai resign.
They accused him of procedural violation in de-notification of huge tracts of land acquired by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
However, the minister refuted all charges and said that the process had started during the Congress-NCP rule in the state and he has just “clubbed individual cases to formulate a policy”.
Soon after the legislative assembly met in the morning, the Opposition demanded a debate on corruption cases. As soon as it was allowed, it began targeting Desai for de-notifying thousands of acres of industrial land across the state without following the due procedure.
The leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said Desai had de-notified a whopping 12,000 hectares of land at Igatpuri near Nashik to help builders and demanded the formation of a special Investigation team to probe into what could be a corruption scam worth Rs 50,000 crore.
He the land was de-notified despite Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporations' opposition to the proposal.
“The state government has de-notified over 12,429 hectares of land acquired by the MIDC between January 1, 2015, and March 31, 2017. This is a new form of corruption where land is acquired and de-notified through underhand dealings,” Vikhe Patil said.
“In the case of the land at Igatpuri, the proposal to de-notify it was rejected by the previous minister on January 16, 2012. However, the current minister allowed it to be handed over to one Swastik Property, Mumbai Ltd. although farmers opposed the acquisition,” Vikhe-Patil said.
Desai, however, said the de-notification was done according to the existing rules and was initiated only after getting a nod of approval from the MIDC. He also cited several examples of de-notification done by the previous Congress government between 2010 and 2014. He further stated that previous regimen executed de-notification on a case to case basis, while he has formulated a framework to do that.
“Several pieces of land are scattered and are fragmented in such a manner that the industries won't be interested in purchasing them. When this was brought to my notice by the officials of the MIDC, I asked them to formulate a policy for de-notification of such pieces of land,” Desai told the legislative assembly while replying to the opposition parties who were demanding his resignation.
Replying to specific questions about the land at Igatpuri near Nashik, the minister told the House that since the state government decided not to acquire fertile and irrigated land for industries, the small chunks of land from the farm areas of 113 farmers of Nashik were de-notified. The pieces of land were not de-notified to favour anybody in particular.
He also said that he was ready to face any inquiry and debate the issue in the house.
CM has not kept promise: Vikhe
“Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had promised an inquiry into allegations against Prakash Mehta pertaining to a slum redevelopment project in Tardeo. But, the state has not yet announced the details of this probe,” Vikhe-Patil said during the debate. He also demanded that a judicial commission be set up to probe charges against Mehta.