Resisting Industrialisation along the Mumbai-Delhi Corridor: Yatra Day 70, Malegaon

A public hearing was organized in Jhodge village of Malegaon Tehsil in Nasik district. People affected by the Mumbai-Delhi industrial corridor participated in the meeting. It was explained by the lead social activist of the village, Mr. Rajendra Bhosle, that in 2009 acquisition notification was issued for 2936 hectares of land in Jhodge village alone. 100% of this area is fertile agricultural land. On 30th November 2009, the gram panchayat passed a resolution opposing the land acquisition and submitted an objection-note to the concerned government departments. There has been no response from the government on this issue and the acquisition has been going despite this objection. On 14th January 2010, a second resolution was passed and submitted to the Minister of Industries and they received a positive response from the Minister. Despite the positive response from the state Minister, land acquisition has been going on and the notice has not been withdrawn. Because of this, people are unable to transact on their lands, take loans from the banks to enhance their land. It was felt that MIDC has been anti-farmer and anti-agriculture since the beginning. If the government does not respond positively to their resolutions, they will be left with no other option other than blocking national highway between Mumbai and Agra.

Later in the day, we participated in a meeting at Manviya Haq Abhiyan Shramik Bhavan (Human Rights Campaign office of Unorganized Worker Union) in Ahmed Nagar. According to one of the leaders of the union Anand Lokhande, the Maharashtra government had decided that housing plots will be given to unorganized workers but this decision was never implemented. Despite the union submitting several applications, the government’s attitude towards the unorganized workers has been negative. The claims of dalits under the Forest Rights Act are not being accepted. Mr Rajendra said that last BPL survey was carried out in 1997-98 and there has been a follow-up survey since then. A people’s survey found out that in this list 3.5 lac people are not eligible for BPL card. We were also told that large sections of the population of the district of Ahmadnagar migrate to Mumbai and Ahmedabad. On behalf of Manviya Haq Abhiyan, Mr. Rajendra expressed solidarity with Jansatyagraha yatra.

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