Apr 26, 2011
Senior activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan spokesperson, Medha Patkar, on Monday threatened to launch a massive agitation in Satara and Pune districts if the problems of the project affected people (PAP) are not resolved soon.
Patkar was in Pune for a meeting with the state minister for rehabilitation and forests, Patangrao Kadam, on the issue of rehabilitation of PAP in Pune.
Citing an example of how 1,700 landowners in Satara are adversely affected by the Wang Marathwadi dam, she said, “Although the project is nearing completion, the issue of rehabilitation of PAP is still in its nascent stage. A few months ago, the people led a massive protest in the area, which forced the district collector to stop work on the project. The government has called for a meeting on April 30, for a dialogue,’’ she said.
Patkar also raised the issue of quality of land handed over to the PAP in the district. “While the government acquires agricultural land, for rehabilitation, it hands over barren land to the PAP. This is against the laws of natural justice,’’ she said.
Patkar also alleged that there are some projects for which land has been acquired by a private company in Pune district. “Later, it was found that the company had acquired excess land. Instead of returning the excess land to the landowners, it is being sold for commercial purpose. The Maharashtra Land Acquisition Act, 1884, specifies that excess land has to be handed over to the original landholders,’’ she said.
Patkar also alleged that tribals who had lost their land in the controversial Lavasa project are yet to be rehabilitated. “The tribals were rehabilitated in Daund, but the land given to them was of the worst quality and without irrigation. Also, the formalities of land transfer are yet to be finished,’’ she alleged.
A signed petition was handed over to the minister by Patkar, asking for speedy resolution of the cases of PAP.