Mr Shinde also said his party leadership never opposed the Nagpur-Mumbai Expressway project.
Mumbai: Amid growing farmer protests, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has assured that fertile land will not be used for the Samruddhi Expressway project and that project affected people (PAP) will be given adequate compensation.
“Sena wants development but not at the cost of farmers. There are two areas of concern for farmers — they will have to abandon their fertile land and compensation should be good. We have been engaging in a dialogue with farmers and will see that development does not occur with farmers getting ruined,” he said.
Pointing to PWD minister (public undertaking) Eknath Shinde taking the initiative for the project, Mr Thackeray said that this was perhaps the first time any minister had hit the ground to discuss with farmers their problems. “I want farmers to bring to our notice if they are being forced to part with their fertile lands or have not been given adequate compensation. We will ensure that their demands are met,” he said.
The Sena chief also denied that his party was divided over the project with reports that Mr Shinde was approaching farmers and negotiating with them to sell their land to Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) for the project.
He said, “There have been false reports that Mr Shinde is acquiring the lands of farmers against my wishes. I have instructed him to visit project affected villages, meet farmers and understand their grievances and hand over their lands for the corridor only if they are satisfied with every aspect of the state’s decision.”
Mr Shinde also said his party leadership never opposed the Nagpur-Mumbai Expressway project. “The Sena leadership was never against Samru-ddhi Mahamarg. We only wanted to protect farmers’interests and hence, I visited Nagpur for witnessing the signing of land sale deeds. It's a development project and we will not oppose it if issues raised by land owners are addressed,” he said.