Kalwa residents protest for Project Affected People status

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 24 Maret 2013 | 22.23

THANE: Hundreds of locals from the Kalwa-Kharegaon townships here marched on the streets recently and staged a demonstration demanding the status of Project Affected People (PAP) and a share of the controversial land which houses the closed unit of Mafatlal Mills.

Local leader Dashrath Patil and the Sangharsh Kruti Samiti have been fighting for the rights of the people whose land was acquired by the government way back and given to the Mafatlal mills as part of the strategy to promote industrial growth.

However, the heavy industry shut down its operations in 1989 following bitter and violent conflict between the labour unions and the mill management. The 200-acre-plus mill plot has been lying idle since then and is mired in litigations.

The land has slowly been encroached upon by slums and illegal settlements and the heavy machinery was stolen and sold off by the locals.

The Sangharsh Samiti argued that the land once-tilled by the Kalwa-Kharegaon farmers was acquired by the state government and virtually gifted to the Mafatlal's for setting up a mill. The slum dwellers have been demanding legal status and implementation of the Centrally-aided Rajiv Awas Yojna, while the mill workers who were rendered jobless after the close down of the mills have demanded a cash compensation from the mill owners after sale of the mill land.

The Samiti has also stepped up its agitation and voiced their demand for a share in the land which originally belonged to them. The land was acquired for a specific purpose to create employment and set up a manufacturing unit. Now that the industry is closed and they are talking of selling off the land then as original owners of the land we have full right over this land. Just as the way CIDCO offers developed land parcels to PAPs the same logic should be applied to people of Kalwa-Kharegaon,'' Patil said.

The Samiti has also demanded that the land be utilized for setting up industrial unit and IT parks as it will help generate more employment for the locals. The protestors blocked the road for over two hours.

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