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HC seeks report on rehabilitation of Chaskaman project-affected

The Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to file a report by March 5 on how many farmers — particularly those affected by Chaskaman irrigation project — have been rehabilitated under the State Project Affected Persons Rehabilitation Act.

The Chaskaman Project, aiming to irrigate an area of 44,170 hectares, stands across river Bhima in Krishna basin near village Bibi in Khed tehsil of Pune district.

The direction was given last week by a bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah in response to a public interest litigation alleging apathy by the government in rehabilitating those displaced by Chaskaman and other similar projects.

The bench noted that another petition had had same grievance, and the High Court, on September 2, 2013, had directed the chief secretary to explain why its orders about rehabilitation of Chaskaman project-hit farmers were not complied with by Pune collector and district resettlement officer.

The court had also directed the collector to give a list of those who were yet to be rehabilitated, and asked the chief secretary to appoint a committee of two officers of the level of commissioner to conduct an inquiry in this regard.

The chief secretary was also to set up a mechanism to ensure implementation of the Act. A compliance report was to be filed before September 23, 2013.

However, no compliance report was filed. The HC, last week, asked the Government to inform on March 5 about the steps taken on rehabilitation of farmers affected by the Chaskaman project. The two petitions would be clubbed.

It also said that the Chief Secretary should ensure that the directions given in September 2013 were complied with immediately.

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