Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wagholi... troubled area...?!

When a Businessman talks like a Politician:

Industry body Chamber of commerce Assocham has suggested that central government and state governments should develop SEZs in trouble-torn and Naxal-hit areas of the country where problems like insurgency and youth unrest exists.

Assocham President Venugopal Dhoot, in a letter addressed to the central and state governments said: "SEZs could be used as a tool to address issues like insurgency."

It suggested that Special Economic Zones should be set up in areas like Assam, Chambal valley and Naxal-hit Telangana, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

- The Economic Times

When a Businessman becomes a Politician:

In the wake of stiff opposition from farmers, the Maharashtra government may be forced to cancel the proposed 4,500 acres special economic zone (SEZ) proposed by the Videocon Group, at Wagholi near Pune

Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), the nodal agency for this project, has put on hold the land acquisition process and the state government is expected to announce a final decision within three weeks.

The SEZ project has remained under scanner right from the initial stages. The MIDC had initiated the land acquisition process for this SEZ in four villages namely Wagholi, Kesnand, Bakori and Loni Kand, located along Pune-Auragabad highway early this year.

Farmers, who were against forceful land acquisition for SEZ, had then beaten up two Videocon officials and an official from Pune district administration. The farmers stuck to their stand and steadfastly opposed the SEZ proposal at various levels.

When contacted, Videocon CEO Venugopal Dhoot asserted that the SEZ project is very much 'on'. "The discussion over government scrapping the SEZ is baseless. Hence, I just do not want to react to rumours," Dhoot stated.
Videocon's Wagholi SEZ may be scrapped

Who is talking? A Politician or a Businessman!

The MIDC’s land acquisition for Videocon’s proposed 2009-acre SEZ at Wagholi has come to a halt.

This follows the intervention of Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, who said the decision is in line with a directive of the central government committee, which says that no state agency will acquire land for any private company.

Mr Pawar told the farmers’ meet that the Union government had formed a committee under him to look into the issue of farm lands being taken over for private companies. This committee has issued directives that governments should not use their land acquisition policy to acquire land for any private company.

“The Union government has accepted the directive. Henceforth, a government agency will only acquire land needed for social infrastructure like schools, hospitals, roads. A private company will have to work in its own capacity to acquire any land it needs. We have also instructed MIDC to de-notify the lands that it acquired at Wagholi, Bakori, Lonikand and Kesnand villages,” he said.

Mr Pawar cautioned farmers against selling off their lands to private builders once government acquisition stops. Instead, he suggested they follow the Magarpatta City model. Stressing on this model, Mr Pawar said: “Nothing will be left for the next generation if farmers sell off their lands. Instead, farmers should pool their lands and lease it out to companies. This will give them a long-term returns rather than a lumpsum income from their holdings.

However, the minister was informed that more than 50% of the lands in village have already been sold off.
-The Economic Times

Related Stories:
1. Mahamumbai SEZ: promoted by Reliance:
The union commerce ministry on Thursday told the Maharashtra government that no land acquisition for SEZs shall be completed till farmers “willingly withdraw their objections” or “give consent to the compensation package” offered by developers.

The clarification, in response to a query from the Maharashtra government, puts paid to all plans for forcible land acquisition anywhere in the country for any SEZ. Specifically, in Maharashtra, this development puts the brakes on the state government’s plan to commence acquisition of land on Friday in 29 villages of Raigad district for the Mahamumbai SEZ being promoted by Reliance.

The plan was to acquire land under Section 6 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act 1894. Specifically, the clarification from the Centre means that the state can still go ahead with the formalities involved in the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, but cannot complete the actual process of transfer to the SEZ developer, without getting the farmers’ consent.
SEZ developers need to win farmers’ trust

2. Avasari Khurd: 40 km from Pune, India; 1500 farmers seek SEZ status for their village

3. FDI: Farmers' Direct Investment

4. "Magarpatta City in Pune could be the model for a land acquisition and rehabilitation policy of The Confederation of Indian Industry ", Sunil Mittal

5. Everybody in Pune is talking about Magarpatta City's upcoming project 'Nanded City' on Sinhgad Road

6. Where is Wagholi?: Number 1 question on my "List of Questions to Ask before Booking a 2 bhk flat in Pune real estate"

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