Expressing concern over allegations that the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (Cidco) had usurped agricultural land by flouting acquisition norms, the Bombay high court on Thursday rapped the town planning authority.
The division bench of justice Ranjana Desai and justice Rajesh Ketkar issued notices to the special land acquisition officer, Thane district collector, managing director and chief land and survey officer of Cidco, asking them to file their replies in two weeks.
“We will not tolerate his. You cannot take away people’s land like this,” said justice Desai.
The court was hearing a petition filed by agriculturist Gorakhnath Patil, alleging that Cidco took over 2,700 sq m of his ancestral land in Shahbaj village in Thane district in 2003, without following a proper process and by flouting regulations of the Land Acquisition Act. The town planning authority also failed to compense him.
Patil’s advocate Rahul Thakur argued that several agriculturists lost their lands due to Cidco’s high-handedness. “This (taking over of agricultural land) has been a cause of severe unrest in Maharashtra and West Bengal,” said Thakur.
On June 11, 2003, Cidco issued a notification for acquiring the land. Even without following the process, Cidco built a road on Patil’s land, said the petition. This is nothing short of robbery of property of poor agriculturists and said action is illegal, arbitrary, malafide and unconstitutional, states the petition.
According to the information obtained by Patil under the Right to Information Act, his land has not been acquired as yet. Patil has sought Rs25 crore compensation from Cidco. Patil has prayed that the government takes proper steps to acquire his land and pay compensation at market rate.