Saturday, June 23, 2007

Industrial zone planned in 9 SEZ villages


MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government’s special land acquisition officer has recommended the removal of nine villages from the list of 45 earmarked for setting up the Maha Mumbai SEZ.

The official has contended that these villages have already been reserved by the government, in 2003, for a township and an industrial zone, and substantial investments have already been made for these purposes.

The officer’s report, a copy of which is with ET, states that large parts of land in these villages have been mortgaged to raise money for various industries. The report was submitted to the state revenue department in the second week of May.

The Maha Mumbai SEZ is promoted by the Reliance group. When contacted, the company spokesperson refused to comment.

These nine villages are among the 45 where the state government has served notices under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894. The notices served last year are meant to seek suggestions/objections from landowners on the government’s decision to acquire their land for the SEZ. As per the procedure, the Section 4 notices were followed by personal hearing under Section 5 of the same Act. Under this, the state’s special land acquisition officer listens to every individual whose land is being acquired for the project.

While listening to the villagers, the officer discovered that the land has already been reserved in these villages. The SEZ Act allows taking over of land that has not been reserved for any other purpose. The officer, as per the procedure, has recommended the publication of notification in the government gazette. The government, however, is yet to act on it.
Sudarshan Rodriguez





Sudarshan Rodriguez,

Senior Research Associate,

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology

and the Environment (ATREE)



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