AMARAWATI: Contrary to popular perception that opposition to the Samruddhi Corridor is limited only to Thane, Nashik and Ahmednagar districts in Maharashtra, farmers from Marathwada and Vidarbha too are opposing it.
“The very first voices against the corridor originated from Shahapur in Thane district. The next fierce opposition was seen in Nashik and Ahmednagar districts.
This helped government agencies create an impression that there is hardly any opposition to the corridor in Marathwada and Vidarbha. But the ground reality is different. A majority of farmers from Marathwada and Vidarbha whose landholding is low feel cheated,” said Appa Kullarni from Nhave village in Jalna district. He has been coordinating protests against the Samriddhi Corridor in the area.
Varud in Jalna district of Marathwada is at the centre of the proposed corridor. A water tank in the courtyard of Krishna Mhase’s house bears the mark to denote this. It also means that his house and around six acres of land where he has developed a vineyard would be removed. Of 800 acres of vineyards in Varud, almost 600 acres would be lost. The same is the case with the neighbouring villages of Kadvanchi and Nhava that grow grapes over 1,400 acres.
“We earn about `12 lakh per acre every year. When we asked the collector at a meeting whether this loss would be compensated, we did not get a proper response,” Krishna Mhase told The New Indian Express.
In Sindkhedraja in Buldana district in Vidarbha, people complained of false promises and coercion by government officials to get their consent for land measurement.
“We want them to conduct remeasurement to prove that our allegations are wrong,” said Dilip Kolhe, a farmer who is expected to lose 3.5 acres of his land.
Sadanand Waghmare of Hivarkhed Purni in Buldana district has filed a petition against the irregularities in land measurement procedures before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. “The public prosecutor skipped four dates of hearing,” he said, adding that none of his letters addressed to officials, including those of the Chief Minister’s Office, has been answered.
Vardali village near Dusarbeed on the Aurangabad-Nagpur highway is slated to lose as many as 200 wells and 1,200 acres of irrigated land to the Samruddhi Corridor. The village has only 40 families, all of whom would be rendered homeless. Kunda Wagh, who grows vegetables and sells them in the local market everyday, was in tears as she spoke about what she felt when officials came to their village to conduct land measurement.
Opposition to land acquisition for the Samruddhi Corridor has grown fierce in Washim district of Vidarbha. In Dongaon, farmers have adopted a policy of non-cooperation with the government. “The collector threatened me in front of 500 farmers. Ever since, we have adopted a policy of complete non-cooperation. We don’t attend any meetings, don’t respond to their communication and don’t go to them with any demands,” he said.
Prabhakar Bajal from Kenvad had symbolically climbed a funeral pyre to protest the alleged high-handedness of government officials. Another farmer Parshuram Vankhede said his younger brother’s engagement had to be cancelled after the girl’s relatives learnt that the Vankhede family will lose seven of nine acres of their land to the corridor. “I challenge the government officers to show my consent letter. They have cheated us,” he said.