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Collector orders probe into sale of 640 acres at valley near Mahabaleshwar

ByNadeem Inamdar
May 20, 2024 08:28 AM IST

Satara district collector has ordered a probe into alleged illegal sale of 640 acres belonging to farmers at Kandati valley in the district after a complaint lodged by activist Sushant More

Pune: The Satara district collector has ordered a probe into alleged illegal sale of 640 acres belonging to farmers at Kandati valley in the district after a complaint lodged by activist Sushant More.

Satara district collector has ordered a probe into alleged illegal sale of 640 acres belonging to farmers at Kandati valley in the district after a complaint lodged by activist Sushant More. ((PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))

More, who is part of the Save Sahyadri Mountains and Ghats initiative, in his complaint alleged that a senior government official currently deputed in Ahmedabad, along with his family and relatives, has purchased the land spanning a village. He said that a resort is being illegally constructed on 35 acres without mandatory permission from forest department, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) and district administration.

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District collector Jitendra Dudi has appointed Wai provincial officer Rajendrakumar Jadhav as the inquiry officer in the case. Jadhav has directed Mahabaleshwar tehsildar to submit a report within two days.

Meanwhile, resident deputy collector (RDC) Nagesh Patil has also directed Wai sub divisional officer, MSEDCL executive engineer incharge for Satara and Public Works Department (PWD) executive engineer at Satara to conduct a probe into the case.

Judi said, “We have ordered a probe into the complaint. The course of action will be decided after the report is filed.”

The senior official who is alleged to have purchased the land did not respond to phone calls and text messages after repeated attempts.

According to the complaint, the illegal digging and construction work pose a serious threat to the ecologically fragile region which forms an important natural resource of the district.

The complainant also alleged that illegal construction of the resort was in violation of laws like the Environment Protection Act of 1986, the Forest Conservation Act of 1976, and the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Land bought at pittance

More said that the agents operating on behalf of the Gujarat-based officer cheated farmers who had been rehabilitated in Kandati valley stating that their land will be acquired by the administration again at throwaway price.

According to More, fearing that their lands will go back to the government, the farmers agreed to sell it through agents who paid meagre 4,000 to 8,000 per acre.

“The area is ecologically sensitive and attracts wildlife like leopards, bears and other species. Currently generators, land digging equipment, heavy earth movers and staff of around 90 persons have been deployed to build the resort. They prevented us from taking photographs and threatened us with dire consequences citing that it was a private property. Though neighbouring villages are yet to be electrified, the construction site has been provided facility by the power utility,” More said.

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