Other States

8 years on, hope for tribals hit by Lendi irrigation project

Displaced Bhotadpada villagers from Jawhar district staging aprotest in Mumbai on Tuesday. The paper work for official landacquisition will be completed in 2016. Photo: Prashant Nakwe  

Almost eight years after tribals in the then Thane district’s Jawhar tehsil lost their land to the Lendi Irrigation project, the government has accepted that the official land acquisition process was not followed.

After a relentless struggle through the years, paper work for official land acquisition will be completed in 2016 under new the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, as land has already been used to construct a dam. The dam is now part of newly formed Palghar district

“The official procedure was not completed while acquiring the land. Meanwhile, notices issued to acquire the land lapsed, but the construction of the dam started. Even though the dam has been constructed, no official acquisition has taken place. I have asked for all files and the official process of land acquisition will be completed as per the new Act,” said Abhijit Bangar, Collector, Palghar. Mr. Bangar said that he has sought an explanation from the officers on how work on the dam began without officially acquiring land from the tribals. Almost 75 per cent of the work is over. However, it has currently been halted. The Collector did not confirm whether the tribals will be given compensation with retrospective effect since their land was taken in 2007. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too has agreed to conduct an inquiry into the irregularities in awarding compensation to the tribals.

On Tuesday, over 75 tribals from Bhotadpada in Jawhar reached Mumbai, covering the 180-kilometre distance on foot in four days to demand a compensation package with retrospective effect and action against government officers who snatched away their land and livelihood.

“Our only source of living was agriculture. Once they took away our land, we were displaced from the village in search of money,” said Vitthal Dambale from Bhotadpada.

The tribals who once grew paddy in this village moved to Bhiwandi and Kalyan where they worked as labourers — after their land was snatched and no compensation given.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 9:52:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/8-years-on-hope-for-tribals-hit-by-lendi-irrigation-project/article8042434.ece

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