The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has reportedly proposed to convert nearly 4,000 hectare of agricultural land and open it up for construction of educational and research institutes along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Being its special planning authority, the MSRDC has proposed the conversion in the Development Plan of 71 villages along the expressway. The opening of the land has reportedly been considered in the view of urbanisation and the plan is expected to be in the public domain for suggestions and objections.
71 villages that are listed in the plan have nearly 6,463 hectare of agricultural land along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in Panvel and Raigad district. Once the proposed plan is passed, only 2,423.82 hectare of agricultural land will be reportedly left. Besides, the plan proposes to build research and development institutions, entertainment activities such as amusement parks, film production, educational and medical institutions, integrated amenities, industries, etc. in the zone. That said, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) with 1.0 floor space index and town planning scheme on 20 hectare are also proposed to be permitted in this zone.
The major concern here is the conversion of large agricultural land for infrastructural projects, which would eventually affect food security. However, these lands are reportedly on hills where agriculture is not possible and most of them are barren. The MSRDC is expected to take private landholders in confidence for acquiring agricultural land.