Save Dapchari | Return land to Dapchari farmers, demands local MLA

Thane, May 27 : Saying that the proposed dairy project at Dapchari in Talasari area of the district had failed to take off, local MLA Chintaman Wanga today demanded that the Maharashtra government should return the land, now taken for other projects, to its rightful owners.

Addressing a news conference here, Mr Wanga, who has been closely following the issue, said the government, with big plans to develop the dairy industry, had taken the land from farmers at throw away prices way back in 1963-64, with a view to shift the dairy owners from Mumbai to Dapchari in Talasari. However, as they were reluctant, the state government started its own dairy development project on the land.

Om Prakash Sharma, a prominent social worker and former National Council member of the BJP, who also addressed the news conference, said back then the government had acquired the land at Rs 450 to 500 per acre and was still to rehabilitate the affected farmers.

A total of 6,800 acres of land was acquired for the purpose, of which 1,300 acres of land had gone in the Kurje dam which supplies water to the area.

The Dapchari project had been set up on the lines of the Anand Dairy of Dr Kurian, but it faced problems subsequently.

Under the project, 800 units were given to private milk producers, with the facilities to manage the project.

In 1971-72, the production of milk started at the Dapchari dairy, but it was not up to the mark. In 1974, the milk production was disrupted due to the government servants strike, as a result of which the government did not not purchase the milk from the tribal farmers.

What followed was anarchy and utter confusion resulting in the loss of milk, and not not getting enough fodder for the cattle, leading to the ultimate death of a number of cattle.

After a long time and a lot of trial and error, the government finally sold out the cattle in the project and gave away 65 acres of land to the Rubber Board, 25 acres to the Fisheries department and 52 acres for the check naka of RTO.

Mr Wanga alleged that the government had illegally sold the land to them without following any regulations and the usage of the land is changed.

Several crores of rupees that were spent on the prestigious project have gone down the drain, he said, adding that the land should be returned to the original owners and not not sold to anyone.

The purpose of the land was for dairy development and nothing else he pointed out and added that the if the government bulldozes and goes ahead with its plan, then thousands of farmers in the region will resort to serious agitation to press for their demands.

Reach us at facebook