The Times Of India, 26 Nov 2014, Nashik: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Nashik civic body and the Maharashtra government to file a detailed report to ensure that the condition of the land to be used for the sadhugram after requisition remains the same following the Kumbh Mela.
Justice Naresh Patil and justice A P Bangale heard the writ petitions of 20 farmers who had challenged the requisition of their lands for constructing the sadhugram during the Kumbh. The government has to submit the report by December 4.
The total area allotted for sadhugram is around 325 acre, of which 54.09 acre is already in the possession of the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC). The remaining 270.91 acre have to be acquired, of which 163 acre falls under a no-development zone, while 58 acre falls in a residential zone.
The NMC had earlier wanted to acquire land for sadhugram, but owing to the opposition from farmers, the civic body decided to undertake the requisition of the land, while the farmers approached the court. The HC said that the rent towards the requisition was to be determined by considering provisions of Land Acquisition Act as has been provided in the Requisition Act. However, the Land Acquisition Act itself has been repealed so the government has been directed to file affidavit as regards manner of computation of rent.
“The state has been asked to file a detailed report to ensure the condition of the land remains intact after requisition/validity of requisition notification and orders and other factors. The court also asked about the computation of rent, the authority of the deputy collector to issue notices, orders of requisition, steps that would be taken to do so,” said Anil Ahuja, a lawyer of the petitioners.
Two Acts have been invoked in the case – the Land Acquisition Act and the Bombay Land Requisition Act, 1948. The former is for permanent acquisition, while the latter pertains to temporary use.
“The decision to acquire the land was already in place, and now there is this decision for requisition. Both decisions cannot work together,” said Prakash Ahuja, a lawyer representing the petitioners.
“There are houses here. There are many cases where the compensation is still pending. The petitioners want to know about the condition of their land, compensation and other issues. The court has now asked the NMC to prepare a detailed report on these. As per a government resolution, the district collector has been appointed as a competent authority, but as per the Bombay Requisition Act, this should be in the gazette, by notification,” he said.
The petitioners had argued that the fertile land will be used for residential purposes and for construction and that the NMC did not remove the concrete or gravel following the last Kumbh in 2002. “It took farmers 2-3 years to bring back the land to its fertile state. Also, the 50-60 acre of land of Panjrapole, where organic crops are grown to feed cows, will be completely destroyed. After the last Kumbh, the NMC did not remove the concrete,” said the lawyers.
Deputy district collector Uday Kisave said that the HC had questioned whether the deputy district collector and the sub-divisional officer were the competent authorities in this matter. “The court also asked us if we had conducted a hearing for the compensation with the farmers. We told the court that we will give the affidavit in two days and a hearing will be conducted to decide the compensation. The court also said government officers should supervise the process. As far as removal of the concrete is concerned, we have stated in our affidavit that we will remove structures,” Kisave said.