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Satara Farmers Resort to Semi Nude Protest to Stop Land Acquisition

Sumedha Pal |
Over 100 protesting farmers, affected by the MIDC’s irrigation project, who were marching to Mumbai demanding compensation and employment were stopped by the police at Mankhurd.
Satara Farmers Semi Nude Protes

Image for representational use only; Image Courtesy : Loksatta

With the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra giving way to the entry of private players with no regard to the interests of the farmers, protests against the government are intensifying. Around 100 project-affected farmers from Satara, who were marching towards Mumbai semi-nude to seek justice from the state government, were stopped by the police at Mankhurd, the boundary of Mumbai.

The farmers had been walking for the past eight days to protest against the three-phase irrigation project of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). The apathetic state government had forced the farmers to evacuate their lands twice earlier because of development projects in the region. Around 850 acres of cultivated land of the farmers from ten villages including Kesurdi in Khandala tehsil of Satara district was acquired for phase one of its irrigation project. Again, 830 acres land was acquired for phase-II by the MIDC.

Even before, their land had been acquired for the Krishna Khore irrigation project in the early 1990s. Some farmers also had to give up their land for highways and state rehabilitation projects in the last decade.

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Speaking with NewsClick, Manik Avghade, All India Kisan Sabha office bearer from the Satara region said, “In the Marathwadi Dharam, the struggle of the farmers is ongoing. This area in itself is currently witnessing multiple projects that are coming up. For the farmers in the region, the primary concern is the question of rehabilitation. Some of the farmers, tired of the bureaucratic processes, are simply surrendering their land in return of money being offered to them. For us the concern is that once our land is gone, we will not be able to bring it back. There is the issue of the dam as well and other projects coming up. In such a scenario, our struggle will go on.”

The farmers started marching on January 12 from Satara to seek justice from the state government. Industries Minister Subhash Desai has assured to meet the delegation after their march was disrupted. The farmers have been demanding that the government needs to immediately stop the process of land acquisition. On earlier occasions, the farmers in the region had not been paid any money after their land was taken away during the state highway project. Therefore, the locals have been demanding that they should get employment in the companies which will be started by acquiring their land. They have also demanded that basic amenities like electricity, road network and water supply should be provided.

Some of the farmers have also stated that if their demands are not taken into account, they are likely to intensify their stir by resorting to a Jal Samadhi (standing inside the water) protest in the Nira River, in the next few days to come.

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