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Land Grab in Raigad

Land sharks are in collusion with the government of Maharashtra to oust over 50,000 farming families from fertile agricultural lands in Alibag (Raigad district), across the harbour from Mumbai. It appears that this is no longer “breaking news”, because it only affects simple traditional farming communities who, together with the kolis (fisherfolk), were the original inhabitants of the city we know today as Mumbai.

On October 27, 2006, the government of Maharashtra, through an extraordinary gazette notification, unilaterally declared this entire agricultural belt of 22 villages in Alibag (where we too are living) as an “Industrial Area” under Clause G of Section 2 of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Act 1961 (MID Act). In short, this means that the agricultural lands of these 22 villages, currently under cultivation and owned by small farmers over several generations, till now designated as a green zone under the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, will now be acquired ostensibly for “industrial development”. The stratagem adopted by the government for this acquisition itself is clever, and demands closer scrutiny.

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