Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Aug 2:
The Odisha High Court has issued a notice to the state government on illegal acquisition of land for expansion of the Sambalpur-Rourkela State Highway-10.
A division bench of the court comprising Justice Pradip Mohanty and Justice BK Nayak on Friday issued the notice to the principal secretary, Revenue, chief engineer, Works, Sundargarh district collector, land acquisition officer, Sundargarh, executive engineer, Works, Sundargarh and Rajgangpur BDO while hearing the petition filed by Salmi Bakhla, a woman of Raiberena village in Keshramal panchayat of Rajgangpur block in Sundargarh district.
The petitioner had stated that the state government has been acquiring land for expansion of the 162.5 km Sambalpur-Rourkela State Highway-10 of which 96.11 km passes through 52 tribal villages in Sundargarh district.
She, however, alleged that the state government had acquired the land in gross violation of the land acquisition rules.
“As these villages belong to Scheduled Areas, the state government should have convened gram sabha to seek the consent of the people of these villages as per the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996 which it has not done,” the petitioner had said.
Stating that the government had illegally taken possession of land belonging to her and other tribals of several villages, the petitioner had urged the court to cancel the government notification on land acquisition in these villages.