Sep 13, 2008

India - Raigad plans referendum on Reliance SEZ

About 4,000 landowners in 22 villages near Mumbai will decide the fate of Reliance group’s proposed Mumbai Special Economic Zone (MSEZ).
Raigad district will hold a referendum on September 21 to ask villagers whether they wish to part with their land for the 5,000-acre project.
This is India’s first-ever such exercise and is scheduled even as Singur stays on edge over the land acquisition for Tata Motors’ Nano plant.
Despite the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance offering relief packages, the 22 villages in Pen want to continue farming rice. They say the near-complete Rs 360-crore Hetavane dam will soon solve their irrigation problems.
Futher, the villagers say the Rs 10 lakh per acre offered by Reliance is lower than the market rate, Rs 30 lakh to Rs 40 lakh per acre.
Ulka Mahajan, of the Shoshit Jan Andolan, said the “the villagers want to keep their land for farming”.

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