Maharashtra farmers to form first industrial colony

The intention is to invite private industrial units to run the colony.

Mumbai: A farmers cooperative in Maharashtra will set up the state’s first industrial colony, on the lines of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). The intention is to invite private industrial units to run the colony. Forty farmers from Nandni village in Shirol tehsil of Kolhapur district are members of the project, which has been initiated by Raju Shetti, Lok Sabha MP and farmers’ leader.

The MIDC is a state government undertaking, which provides businesses with infrastructure such as land (open plot or built-up spaces), roads, water supply, drainage facilities and streetlights. “It is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The ‘cooperative MIDC’ will invite private industries to set up their units,” said Mr Shetti.

Spread over 30 acres, the project has been registered with the industries department as ‘Swabhimani Audyogik Sahakari MIDC’ and owners of the land would be shareholders in the cooperative society. “We have already received seven investment proposals, mainly from the food processing sector. We have created a land bank and officially converted the status of our land from agriculture to non-agriculture land. We have invited companies to set up their plants on the land. The revenues will be shared with farmers based on their land share,” he said.

An MIDC official said this is a unique concept whereby such an industrial project was being set up by farmers and not the government. There are 107 cooperative industrial estates in Maharashtra, developed in areas other than MIDC. The state
government provides them share capital and technical guidance.

Sandeep Patil, a member of the project, said, “Earlier, land acquisition took years to complete, which was frustrating for the farmers. In this case, the process took less than six months. If we sell our land to a company, we do not know what to do with the money, as we have farming for years,” he said.

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