Chavan calls Vasai marchers for talksOctober 2nd, 2010 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS
Thane/Mumbai, Oct 2 (IANS) The Maharashtra government, yielding to pressure, invited villagers of Vasai for talks as they started their march Saturday — the birth anniversary of Mahatma gandhi — to protest redrawing of municipal limits in Thane district, a protester said.
The government invited Vasai’s independent legislator Vivek Pandit for an urgent meeting after the protesters started the 100-km march towards Mumbai, said an aide of the assembly member.
Navin Dube, co-ordinator of the Shramjeevi Sanghatana - an organisation founded by Pandit - said that the march was launched Saturday dawn with over 5,000 people, including women.
“We marched eight km up to the Martyrs’ Memorial in Vasai when Chief Minister Ashok Chavan called us for a meeting at his official bungalow,” Dube told IANS.
The 100-km-long march, symbolically launched on the 141st birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, from Vasai to Varsha (the chief minister’s official residence at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai), is part of the ongoing agitation against the inclusion of 18 villages in the newly-formed Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) in Thane district.
The march is the culmination of a unique week-long campaign in which Pandit and his supporters “begged” Re.1 from people in support of their demand.
“So far, we have collected over Rs.54,000 and we plan to donate it to the chief minister after the march,” Dube said.
The money was collected by Pandit and others from railway stations like Virar, Nalla Sopara, Vasai, Naigon, temples and other places of worship, markets, bus stops and other public places in the Vasai constituency.
Pandit said that for nearly two years the people have been demanding the exclusion of 53 villages from the VVMC and the Sanghatana has carried out several agitations.
In March this year, the agitation took a violent turn and police caned the villagers and tribals, injuring several people including women and senior citizens.
Later, the state government agreed to exclude 35 villages from the VVMC, but there was no progress on the status of the remaining 18 villages in the corporation, which is based barely 40 km from Mumbai.
The inclusion would be against the wishes of gram sabhas, Pandit said.
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Tags: agitation, ashok, assembly member, birth anniversary, bus stops, chief minister, co ordinator, dube, maharashtra government, mahatma gandhi, malabar hill, nalla, navin, pandit, places of worship, railway stations, senior citizens, south mumbai, tribals, vvmc