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 .
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 , 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 .
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 .