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Land scam: Nashik farmers threaten mass suicide

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Apr 13 (UNI) A group of farmers from Nashik district today threatened to commit mass suicide if the state government fails to retrieve back their agricultural land allegedly sold to corporate houses two years ago.

Faced with poverty and an uncertain future, the farmers rallying here under the Forum to Respect Constitution and Evolve Democracy (FORCE) demanded the government to ''act fast or face the calamity'' of mass suicides by landless farmers.

FORCE president Nanasaheb Vasantrao Jadhav told mediapersons here that section 63 of Bombay Tenancy&Agricultural Act, 1948, which bars sale of agricultural lands to non-farmers, is being violated by officials of the Nashik Land and Revenue department with impunity.

Accusing the distict officials of red-tapism and rampant corruption, forum secretary Vilas Govardhane said, ''The entire act of selling fertile land to business houses and later reselling it to a third party smells of a collective conspiracy by government officials, business houses and builders.'' Displaying several documents, Mr Jadav alleged that the then Development Commissioner Sharvari Gokhale played a ''pivotal role'' in the land scam and demanded her ouster with immediate effect.

Sadashiv Govindrakh (65), a landless farmer said, ''I am here with the hope that the government will help me in getting my land back or else I will have to commit suicide to escape hunger and poverty.'' Mr Govardhane also alleged that 2,500 acres of fertile land was sold by the development authority in Nashik to two leading corporate houses for establishing silk industries. ''Even after two years, there is no industry and the same land is being sold to third party. As a result, there is a visible increase of poverty and suicides in the region,'' he added.

On being asked why they came to Mumbai to make public their grievances, the farmers said they want to make their voice reach the state government officials to ensure they back their land.

UNI GVS GK AK HT1910

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