Some 900-odd farmers from four villages near Pune who had sold 1,705 hectares of land for the Bharat Forge SEZ eight years ago seem to have some hope of resolving the dispute over the rehabilitation and resettlement package at last.

Ajit Deshmukh, regional officer of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), has said Khed Economic Infrastructure Pvt Ltd (KEIPL), the SPV implementing the project, has agreed to the first of the three proposals put forth by the farmers to resolve the contentious issue.

MIDC holds 26 per cent stake in KEIPL, a joint venture between MIDC and Baba Kalyani-led Kalyani group, which holds the remaining stake in the company.

Main demand For the project affected farmers (PAF) from Nimgaon, Kanersar, Davdi and Kendur, the main bone of contention is that they have not been given 15% of the developed land under the terms of agreement.

Instead, KEIPL transferred the land into Kalyani Developers Ltd (KDL), another company in which farmers were made stakeholders. KEIPL and MIDC hold 24 and 6 per cent shares respectively in KDL.

While the farmers have moved the Mumbai High Court, their agitation gained momentum when MP Raju Shetti-led farmers’ organisation Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) stepped in.

Land earmarked According to Deshmukh, a plot of land admeasuring 183.37 hectares has been earmarked as the farmers’ share. “KEIPL will build a road and provide infrastructure to the plot,” he said.

Farmers held demonstrations outside the MIDC office in Pune on Monday, demanding the resolution of the issue that has been in limbo for nearly eight years.

Following discussions between representatives of KEIPL, affected farmers, leaders of the SSS and the MIDC regional officer, Rajendra Dhavan Patil, head of the Pune district unit of the SSS, expressed the hope that the issue would be resolved ahead of the next court hearing scheduled for April 18.