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The Rs 4,000-crore township that farmers built

Magarpatta City is a landmark in Pune. Situated on the road to Solapur, it is a planned city on 400 acres of land. What is unique about it is that it has been developed by a farmers' co-cooperative -- some 120 families consisting of 800 individuals.

This is their story.

Satish Magar, who spearheaded this development, studied in Pune's Bishop's School. While his father and brother are engineers, Satish graduated in agriculture. He was involved in farming and retailing when the Pune development master-plan came out. He saw that the burgeoning population of the city was troubling the government and they had decided to convert agricultural land into commercial plots.

Satish is the managing director of Magarpatta Township Development and Construction Company. He also saw that many individuals had sold small plots. One or two buildings came up in what he calls 'fragmented development.' He saw that the infrastructure that these fragments enjoyed was nil. So he decided to plan a township. Instead of setting up heavy industries that would be polluting, he decided to develop a software park.

He called a meeting of the farmers. It helped that most of them had the same surname that he carries -- Magar. It also helped that his family owned 40 per cent of the land.

He dreamt of a world-class software city. A city with 20 towers for office space and 300 residential buildings. He took time off his development dream to talk to Contributing Correspondent A Ganesh Nadar.

Photographs, courtesy: Magarpatta City

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