The government has allegedly not been following land acquisition norms.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Monday issued a notice to the state government over petitions filed by thirteen villages of Nashik district challenging land acquisition for the high-profile Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway. According to the petitions, the government, which is allegedly acquiring fertile land for the expressway, has not been following land acquisition norms.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Nitin Jamdar was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by the gram panchayats of Igatpuri and Sinnar Taluka of Nashik district.
The panchayats alleged that the expressway is to be built on land from 300 villages and twelve districts in Maharashtra, including Nashik, and fertile land would be affected by the project.
The petitions state that pulses and cereals are being grown in the areas in question and farmers fear they would ‘completely lose their traditional resource base’. Nashik district has 82,812 hectares of land out of which 54,894 hectares is already being utilised by the state government for various projects.
The government has proposed the acquisition of 407 hectares in Ghoti village for constructing a road and industrial colonies, as well as 756 hectares in Gonde to make it a ‘smart city’.
The petitioners’ lawyer Rameshwar Gite said that the government is not taking land from farmers as per the Land Acquisition Act. He added “The government will have to show special reasons for acquiring the land and that it had no alternative,” he said.
Mr Gite also stated that there is alternative to constructing the road but that government is not willing to consider it. The petitions sought that the court direct the government to stop acquiring land, and stated that alternative roads need to be considered for the project.
The petitions have named the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), the ‘responsible officer of Mumbai expressway’, the collector of Nashik and the state government as the respondent. The court kept the matter for further hearing in six weeks’ time.