Calcutta High Court, on Friday, pulled up the West Bengal police and Coal India limited (CIL) for failing to evict thousands of illegal occupants who have been accused of causing losses of more than Rs 6,000 crore to public exchequers by illegally occupying CIL land and coalmines in Asansol.
Acting chief justice KJ Sengupta and justice AK Mondal directed the police and CIL to evict all illegal occupants from the coal belt within two weeks and realise the cost of eviction from them.
The judges also took exception to the allegation that state law minister Malay Ghatak had asked the CIL and the police not to evict the occupants.
"Don't listen to anyone. Evict the illegal occupants and register FIRs if any person even attempts to prevent compliance with the court's order," the judges said.
The directive came on a PIL filed by advocate Partha Ghosh alleging that thousands of people had been illegally occupying Coal India land, enjoying free electricity and water and mining coal for many years.
In response to a Right To Information (RTI) application, the CIL informed Ghosh that because of illegal occupation of land and mining, the company had been suffering losses of about Rs 6,800 crore every year.
Taking note of the RTI reply, the high court ordered the disconnection of power lines, water supply and eviction of the illegal occupants.
The CIL and the police then filed reports in the court that Ghatak had written to the company asking it not to evict the occupants because they had no other place to live.
The state advocate assured the court that the police would help CIL in evicting the illegal occupants.