PESA law violated during land acquisition, farmers angry

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Nashik: Samruddhi Expressway is passing through tribal area. The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act or PESA is applicable for the tribal area. Property cannot be acquired without general meeting of Gram Panchayat in tribal villages, but as government has started land acquisition process violating this act, farmers expressed angry reactions. As farmers from Igatpuri taluka gave their lands for government projects earlier, they are showing their opposition to doing so again.

Farmers got angry after government declared compensation rates for Nashik district for land acquisition. Agitation against Samruddhi expressway is intensifying again.

Irrigated lands of 3,000 farmers will be acquired for 101-km stretch which is passing through Nashik district. Two laned Ghoti-Sinnar highway had been constructed eight years ago. Lands were acquired at that time. Samruddhi expressway crosses this highway at three locations. Out of 22 villages, 17 villages in Igatpuri fall under PESA act.

Though farmers from these tribal villages showed their opposition after conducting a village meeting, government is encroaching upon rights of people, alleged the farmers from these villages.

Total area in Igatpuri taluka is 82,812 hectare. Out of this, 56,744 hectare has been already affected by earlier projects. It is a plan by government to grab lands, farmers alleged further. Land cannot be acquired without permission of 70% farmers. Why is there a violation of the law, farmers are demanding. Intense agitation will be staged in future because of this.

What is the need for the expressway?
Though there is Mumbai-Nagpur-Kalyan national highway no. 6 for Mumbai to Nagpur and Nagpur-Aurangabad-Mumbai highway, why then is there a requirement for a third highway, it is being asked.

Though a four-laned highway was proposed at some locations, a two-laned highway was constructed.

Land acquired for the project has not be utilised fully. Those who want to travel fast have the option of going by air. Considering this, there is no need for the expressway, the farmers are stating.

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