The dispute between two government departments is likely to cause a further delay in the rehabilitation of Malin village in Pune, which was hit by a landslide on July 30, last year.
The relief and rehabilitation and tribal development departments have been fighting over the release of funds meant for land acquisition to set up homes for 72 families rendered homeless.
Soon after the landslide, which claimed 151 lives and devastated families, the state government announced the complete rehabilitation of the village. After the villagers consented to a plot at Kashalwadi village, the district collectorate in Pune requested the state government to release Rs10 crore.
The tribal development department has, however, expressed its inability to release the fund, citing technical reasons. It has also requested the relief and rehabilitation to release the fund.
“The six-acre plot at Kashalwadi is three kms away from Malin and the land is to be acquired at the market rate. We were waiting for the fund to be released by the tribal department, which had shouldered the responsibility of the construction of the houses,” an officer from the revenue department said.
“However, the department has now expressed its inability, saying it has no provision under which the fund can be released. It will have now to make a special provision in budget session in March, leading further delays,” the official added.
The then tribal welfare minister, Madhukar Pichad, had announced that the tribal department will shoulder the responsibility of rehabilitation as most villagers who died were tribals.
The officials explain: “We have not retracted on our commitment. Since the technical provision needs more time, we have requested the relief and rehabilitation department to draw the fund from contingency fund and get it recouped after the budget.”
Meanwhile, Govind Raj, secretary, relief and rehabilitation, said, “Rehabilitation process will not be delayed due to the release of funds. By the time the issues related to the land are sorted, we will be in a position to release the funds.”
The state government has already released the fund of Rs 12.5 crore needed for the compensation to the next of kin of the 151 victims. The legal heirs of the victims will also get Rs 8.5 lakh each.