HC grants interim stay on land acquisition for Almatti rehab

The Dharwad Bench of the High Court of Karnataka has ordered four-week interim stay on the State government’s final notification to acquire land to rehabilitate people displaced by the Almatti reservoir project.

The government had issued preliminary notification on Nov 22 and 30, 2013, to acquire 16,000 acres of land in Bagalkot town and Muchakhandi village to rehabilitate the displaced.

The government had issued final notification on May 22 and June 16 in this regard.
Ravi Kamatagi and 40 others had filed a writ petition in the High Court challenging the final notification issued by the State government.

The petitioners argued that the State government in 1982 had acquired 4,544 acres of land to rehabilitate the families displaced by the Almatti reservoir project.
The said stretch of land was enough to rehabilitate the displaced.

But the government, violating the norms, allotted 300 acres of land to the University of Horticulture Sciences, which is located in Bagalkot, 257 acres to the KIADB and 868 acres to a bank and private organisations.

Guidelines not followed

The government then didn’t comply with the guidelines while allotting the portions of land, primarily acquired for rehabilitation, for other purposes.

Now, the government again wants to acquire the land in the name of rehabilitation.
The petitioners further contended that, as per the rules, the government should issue final notification within 12 months of issuing preliminary notification.

In this case, it has issued final notification almost two years after issuing preliminary notification, Basavaraj Godachi, counsel for the petitioners, stated.

A single bench

of Justice B Veerappa ordered the government to file the objections within two weeks and adjourned the hearing.

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