Killing prosperity…?

Kirti Ranshoor

Igatpuri : A large number of the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway affected farmers from Nashik district said that injustice is being meted out to them by treating their Irrigated Farmlands as Dry Lands (Jirayat Lands). For example, the farmlands in Awchitwadi village of Igatpuri Tehsil earmarked for the proposed Expressway are being treated as Dry Lands (Jirayat Lands).

Farmer Madan Tukaram Binnar who has been farming regularly on his piece of land in Awchitwadi village of Igatpuri tehsil said, “I have been trying to get my irrigated land officially notified as irrigated land since last 2 years but to no avail. My land is still being shown as Dry Land (Jirayat).”

But one look at the multiple crops swaying in the wind even in scorching April on these so-called Dry lands (Jirayat) and one wonders with a touch of suspician how this land can be officially designated Dry Land (Jirayat) and why? Incidentally this land is just next to Bham river.

Farmer Madhav Tukaram Binnar splashes water on his face to freshan up at his farmland which has been notified as Dry Land (Jirayat) and earmarked for the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway. Photographs : Kirti Ranshoor

Good rain always brings cheer to Igatpuri’s farmers as it boosts paddy crop and recharges the ground water table. This rain contributes significantly to Nashik district’s pool of rice.

Cool wind blowing from this river that flows alongside these farmlands tempers the heat in Summer. Here the farmer is so blessed that nature itself makes his ‘Shivar’ ‘Jalyukta’. Availability of abundant water at his farm is the backbone of his prosperity. Madan cultivates a large number of varieties of crop round the year. He said, “Ghoti is within easy walking distance. We carry our stuff to Ghoti market which is famous here. We don’t face problems like water scarcity. We are logistically and financially contented farmers.”

In April 2018 at Awchitwadi village of Igatpuri Tehsil, Maize crop glistening in a farmland notified as a Dry Land (Jirayat) and earmarked for the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway. On one hand everyone talks of protecting the environment and on the other plans are afoot to covert fertile land like this into concrete. Won’t this be a colosssal loss for  mandkind facing the grave challenge of Global Warming.

Awchitwadi village is blessed with presence of 6 dams in the radius of 10 km. Former Sarpanch of this village Daulatrao Dubhashe said, “Fertile lands are the reason for the prosperity of Awchitwadi. We are unhappy beacause our 24 hectares farmlands are notified as Dry Lands (Jirayat) for the proposed Expressway.”

Average annual rainfall of Igatpuri tehsil is around 3000 mm. Another farmer Ravikant Narayan Kadu said, “Igatpuri receives highest rainfall in the district. Even according to agricultural science our lands are not Dry Lands (Jirayat). Treating our irrigated lands as Jiryat lands is an act of gross injustice to us.”

The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 has placed caps on acquisition of multi-crop and agricultural lands to prevent arbitrary and atrocious acquisition and to safeguard food security. But the Direct Purchase Programme for the proposed Expressway has ruled out measures meant to protect irrigated lands from acquisition. A farmer from Taloshi village, Bhaskar Gunjal said, “The government appears to have used every loophole in the rules to get hold of our lands anyhow. We have been rendered completely helpless.” Another farmer Ravikant Kadu said, “When I said that I would go to court, the government agent threatened me that if I did so I will be running to the court for the next 50 years for the case.”

This Direct Purchase Programme has also robbed the 19 Grampanchayats in Igatpuri Tehsil which are Scheduled Areas of Maharashtra (PESA) of their right to safeguard natural resources of their villages.

In April 2018 at Awchitwadi village of Igatpuri Tehsil, Bham River flowing alongside the farm makes it naturally fertile. The same farmland notified as a Dry Land (Jirayat) and earmarked for the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway.
In April 2018, freshly picked groundnut by a farmer Madan from his land notified as a Dry Land (Jirayat) and earmarked for the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway. This farmer says that Igatpuri might permanently lose large tracts of fertile lands due to the proposed expressway.
The farmers have plenty of Rice husk from their own fields to feed their cows and buffaloes. Farmers here practice integrated farming by cultivating multiple crops, besides taking up animal husbandry.
Farmer Madan Binnar with freshly plucked Sponge Gourds (Ghosavala) grown on his fertile irrigated land notified as a Dry Land (Jirayat) and earmarked for the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway. His child is also seen.
Harvesting of Rabi crop is almost complete here. The resourceful farmer grows onion on his land notified as a Dry Land (Jirayat) and earmarked for the proposed Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway. Irrigation has improved onion yields. This farmer harvested onions in time to avoid bulb splitting.

 

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