The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) acquired 7 acres of land for the expansion of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) on Wednesday.

Armed with a High Court order and assisted by the police, the officials went to the land in Bala village that belonged to the former vice-president of the Bala Gram Panchayat Gregory Patrao.

Mr. Patrao, who had been fighting a legal battle against the acquisition of his land for close to 20 years, lost the ownership of the land after the High Court dismissed his petition against the KIADB and the State Government on March 19. Mangalore tahsildar C.N. Manjunath told The Hindu that compensation of Rs. 1.54 crore had been deposited by the KIADB in the name of the land-losers at the Mangalore Civil Court. “We are doing nothing that is against the law. They are just trying to postpone the inevitable,” he said. Concurring with the tahsildar, B.M. Prakash Mr. Patrao's lawyer said, “Legally speaking they have every right to acquire the land.”

However, Vidya Dinker of the Citizens' Forum said that Mr. Patrao's family was not given adequate time to pack their belongings and that no alternative residential arrangement was made for them as per rehabilitation norms. Refuting this, Mr. Manjunath said that temporary accommodation had been provided to the family.

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