The government's apathetic attitude to project-affected people's problems breeds Maoists, the Bombay high court remarked on Thursday. The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S C Dharmadhikari was hearing a PIL filed by one Baban Kadam, on behalf of those farmers who lost their lands to the Chasak-man dam, situated in Pune district.
The petition contends that despite a scheme to allot alternate land, 90 per cent of nearly 3,000 project-affected families haven't got any. "Maoists and Naxalites are born because of this kind of attitude," an angry bench remarked, seeking a reply from the government.
The government contended that people haven't come forward to take advantage of the scheme, under which a person may get alternate land if he deposits 65 per cent of the cost of land with the government within 45 days of land acquisition.
But advocate Shakuntala Wadekar, for the petitioner, said that most people in this tribal area were '100 per cent illiterate' and were not aware of the scheme when their own lands were acquired. The division bench remarked that three decades have passed after land acquisition began in 1976.
"You must reach out to people. You must not expect them to come to you," the judges said.
The court asked the state to file an affidavit, seeking information as to how many project affected families got alternate land, and how relief could be given to the rest. Advocate Wadekar said that the government is supposed to maintain a register of project-affected persons, but it has not been updated in this case. Many names are missing from it, she said.