AURANGABAD: The notices to acquire land for the proposed Samruddhi Corridor in Maharashtra came as messages of death for at least four farmers in Aurangabad district who could not bear the shock of parting with fertile irrigated land.
Shivnathappa Thenge (68), Vishwanath Hekde (62) and Lakshman Sundarne (65) from Maliwada village of Gangapur taluka in Aurangabad district have died of heart attack in past few months. Their family members say that they died after the notices for measurement of land were served to them and the actual land measurement was carried out in the village.
“My father was healthy and there was absolutely no reason for him to die of heart attack. The day when notice was served to us for land measurement, he went to the field just to get an idea of how much land we are likely to lose. When he realised that we would lose 11 acres of land, he had a massive heart attack and died,” his son Balasaheb Hekde told The New Indian Express.
Another farmer Jadusinh Jalamsinh Meher (63) from KachchiGhati village in Aurangabad taluka too died on April 9 of heart attack. This happened after he was served with a notice for land measurement on April 8. His two acre of land was going for the corridor. He couldn’t bear the shock.
Abdul Majid Shekh Sultan, alias Kalubhai, from Palshi village in Aurangabad taluka tried to commit suicide by drinking insecticide when the land measurement officers approached him for measuring his land. “I have no place to go apart from my land which the government wants to acquire. How can I tolerate it? They had come with police force and tried to bully me.
I was so enraged that I picked up a bottle of insecticide lying nearby and tried to drink it. They prevented me for doing that and went away without measuring my land,” Kalubhai said. He has a brick kiln and also rears cows to support his family of nine. Shahaji Pawar from Sonambe village in Sinnar taluka of Nashik district shows a big pouch containing medicines for diabetes and hypertension. He is leading the agitation of farmers from neighboring villages under the banner of Samruddhi Mahamarga Sangharsh Samiti. “There are several more like me,” he said.
Shivade village in Sinner taluka of Nashik district is famous for its vineyards and almost 100 per cent export-oriented farm yields. Somnath Wagh, a chartered accountent by education and farmer by profession, says that even the modest earning of farmers from the village go up to Rs 30-40 lakh a year.”Our village is surrounded by hills which ensure that our wells never go dry. But, with the current alignment of the Samruddhi Corridor we will lose 55 such water-rich wells that irrigate around 150 acre of land apart from the land going under the highway,” said Rausaheb Harak, a leading farmer from Shivade.
“When we first heard that our land would go under the highway, we were so disturbed that we decided to commit mass suicide and to mark that, we tied noose to trees in our fields,” said Anil Harak, who is a former Panchayat Samiti member. Thanks to the efforts of Samruddhi Mahamarga Sangharsh Samiti, the farmers have now resolved to fight out the land acquisition efforts. “We won’t commit suicide now but we’ll hang those who dare come here to acquire our land,” Harak said.
The corridor is a proposed eight-lane 120 metre wide 710- km long expressway that passes through 354 villages of 30 talukas in 10 districts of Maharashtra. The project is expected to change the face of the State’s economy by providing rapid access for farm produce to ports, airports and agro-processing hubs. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently declared that construction of the road will begin in October this year and would be completed within the next three years.