A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has stated that around 5,000 tribals from the six villages, located near the world''s tallest statue, were being evicted by the government and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) "under the guise of tourism development projects without following due procedures under the Land Acquisition Act".
These villages are - Kevadiya, Vagadiya, Navagam, Limbdi, Kothi and Gora.
The PIL, filed by city-based environment activist Mahesh Pandya, claimed that though the government has been claiming that the land in question was already acquired in the 1960s, when the Sardar Sarovar Dam was coming up, its actual possession remained with the villagers as the authorities never utilised that land.
Now, the government and SSNNL have started the process of taking the actual possession, claiming the land in question was already acquired and the villagers have to shift elsewhere, said the PIL.
Since the original acquisition has already lapsed and possession remained with tribals over the last 58 years, the government cannot take the land back from the villagers now, Pandya had argued.
In its response, the government told the division bench of acting Chief Justice Anant S Dave and Justice Biren Vaishnav on Wednesday that it was considering providing additional facilities to the affected villagers under various projects in addition to the compensation and "two (financial) packages provided to them in the past for the lands acquired in 1961-62".
In July this year, the HC had ordered status quo with respect to the acquisition of land for various tourism projects and asked the state government not to evict anyone till further orders.
The matter will come up for hearing on August 29.
The PIL alleged that SSNNL and district collector of Narmada "have started forcibly evicting the villagers without following due process of law".
The petitioner claimed the land is being acquired for tiger safari, hotels and other buildings planned near the Statue of Unity to develop tourism. PTI KA PD NSK SMN SMN
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI