Pune-Nashik Expressway: Deputy CM Ajit Pawar halts project amid protests

The expressway, which would pass through Khed, Ambegaon, and Junnar tehsil, has faced significant resistance from farmers concerned about losing their agricultural land. In response, a meeting was organised by Minister Dilip Walse Patil at Deputy CM Pawar's office.
Representative Image
Representative Image

Pune: Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has suspended the Pune-Nashik Industrial Expressway project due to strong opposition from local farmers and representatives. State Cooperation Minister Dilip Walse Patil confirmed that Pawar has instructed officials to halt current activities and reassess the expressway plan.

The expressway, which would pass through Khed, Ambegaon, and Junnar tehsil, has faced significant resistance from farmers concerned about losing their agricultural land. In response, a meeting was organised by Minister Walse Patil at Deputy CM Pawar's office.

MLAs Dilip Mohite and Atul Benke, former Zilla Parishad Vice President Vivek Walse Patil, Anil Walunj, Ashok Adak Patil, Balshiram Walunj, Ashok Walunj, and other officials were present for the meeting.

The meeting concluded with a decision to halt the expressway process and reconsider the plan. Ajit Pawar and Dilip Walse Patil assured the farmers that they would meet the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to request the project's cancellation and explore alternative routes.

Walse Patil noted that the existing Pune-Nashik highway has been widened and several bypasses constructed. With two other highways proposed in the region and existing traffic congestion in areas like Chakan, Talegaon, and Shikrapur, enhancing the old highway in certain sections could resolve these issues.

Shirur Member of Parliament Dr. Amol Kolhe thanked Deputy CM Ajit Pawar for suspending the project. Kolhe also called for the project's permanent cancellation. Dr. Kolhe emphasized that numerous farmers in Junnar, Ambegaon, and Khed talukas have already lost land to various projects and should not face further acquisitions.

Dr. Kolhe also advocated for fair compensation for any unavoidable land acquisitions and suggested that the Pune-Nashik railway is a more viable option. He urged that the temporary suspension be made permanent to remove the threat of land acquisition and ensure justice for the farmers.

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