The Madhya Pradesh high court on Wednesday granted four more weeks to the state chief secretary and the principal secretary (SC/ST department) to file their replies to a PIL demanding the data of land and money spent to buy land for distribution to Dalits in all districts under the Bhopal Declaration 2002.
On January 12, 2002, the state government adopted the Bhopal Declaration for ensuring basic rights to Dalits including the provision of land to the landless families for livelihood. Earlier, the court had served notices on the two top bureaucrats on March 31 in connection with the PIL filed by Bhu Adhikar Abhiyan, a Bhopal-based social organisation which is demanding the proper implementation of the Bhopal Declaration.
The petitioner gathered information from certain websites that about 7 lakh acres of government land was distributed among 3,44,229 landless Dalit families. Thereafter, it made efforts to seek information with regard to the status of land distribution, actual possession, use of the land distributed and list of beneficiaries from the respondents. The petitioner gave representations to the state chief secretary and all the district collectors in August 2015 in this regard but there was no response, the petitioner’s counsel Raghvendra Kumar said.
While Rs 37.50 crore was allegedly spent to buy land for the SC & ST landless families, there was no official information available, the counsel said.