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Alibag SEZ in Mumbai, MH, India


Alibag (Alibaug) is a city near Mumbai (Bombay), in the state of Maharastra. In September, 2006 a Special Economic Zone was proposed at Alibag. For this purpose, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) was supposed to acquire land. The proposed SEZ was being developed by India Bulls infrastructure Development Corporation. For the purpose of SEZ government issued an extraordinary notification empowering the MIDC to acquire nearly 5,000 acres of land in 22 villages [1].

As the idea was conceived, local people were strongly against the SEZ. They demanded immediate scrapping of the project because the proposed land is highly fertile and the only means of livelihood for the people. The villagers formed an organization named '22 Gao bachao Sangharsha Samiti'. The organization is a registered body of farmers for protesting against the SEZ [1], and defined the project as a form of land grab. In February 2010, groups of environmentalists and social activits organized a seminar called seminar ‘Vikas, Vinash and You" ("Development, distruction and you") to mobilise against what they termed the “land mafia” and to call farmers to protect their lands against economic and environmental degradation. They pointed out that the main question is how a designated green zone is being converted into an industrial zone and that this is not acceptable.

The mobilizers used many times the Right to Information Act to get information about the project. It was revealed through the applications that the rice fields and orchards are being acquired by MIDC would be handed over to private reality giant India Bulls for a percentage of the profit [2].

On February 17, the Bombay High Court rules that MIDC and Indiabulls cannot acquire the land from these villages on the basis of unconstitutionality of the proceedings and because the villagers did not get a public hearing. The verdict not only affected the lives and livelihoods of thousands of farmers but also nearly 5000 acres of fertile green cover that act as natural lungs for its congested neighbour, Mumbai.

Maharashtra Govt finally cancelled in 2012 the Notification for the SEZ in area because of the opposition from the farmers in the region.

However, the plans for urban developments in Mumbai and surrounding townships are likely to follow the usual path of large infrastructures to connect the parts of the cities and to attract big investments in the area. In name of the conept of "smart cities", new proposals for more SEZ are not to be excluded in Alibaug [5].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Alibag SEZ in Mumbai, MH, India
State or province:Maharastra
Location of conflict:Alibag
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Project area:2,023
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:25,000-50,000
Start of the conflict:21/09/2006
End of the conflict:25/09/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Indiabulls Group from India
Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Maharashtra
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:'22 Gao bachao Sangharsha Samiti', SEZ Virodhi Sangarsh Samiti, Bawees Gaon Bachao Samiti

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Air pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:The people have learnt from past experience that the benefits of projects have not been shared. They have only paid costs. So they do not sell their land to the companies at any cost [4]. The activists, urged the villagers to mobilize against the “land mafia” to protect their farms against economic and environmental degradation [2]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Maharashtra Govt cancelled the Notification for the SEZ in area because of the opposition from the farmers in the region.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005,%202005.pdf

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Farmers protest against SEZ

[2] Green activists urge villagers to fight proposed economic zone

[3]India Bulls

[4] Struggle against Reliance SEZ intensifies

Focus now on ‘smart cities’, Mumbai's satellite towns will benefit

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Alibag SEZ

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update24/07/2014



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