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PIL questions land acquisition for solar park in Gujarat

According to reports, the Gujarat Solar Park project inaugurated with much fanfare in Charanka village of Patan district recently has courted controversy.

The Gujarat high court on Thursday sought explanation from the state authorities over allegations of huge irregularities in land acquisition process for the project.

Petitioner Farsubhai Goklani filed a PIL through advocate Hriday Buch claiming that certain people close to the ruling party purchased land much before announcement of the project in this village. It was also alleged that the land valuation committee hiked the price of land up to Rs 6.9 lakh per acre, whereas the actual land value was much lesser. After questioning the land acquisition process, the petitioner has demanded an inquiry into the issue either by independent agency or by judicial officer.

The solar park is proposed to be set up in 2,669 acres and the government had issued a notification in this regard last year. Goklani contended that as soon as the government zeroed in on the village for the project, certain people close to the ruling party immediately purchased land at much cheaper rate and then sold it later.

The petitioner questioned these land deals claiming that the land awarded to members of SC/STs was also purchased, which is not permissible as per the law.

Besides, the petitioner questioned formation of the land valuation committee, which adjudged the land price at such a higher level that it benefited those land dealers, who had purchased plots from villagers. The petitioner alleged that after purchasing land at Rs 1 lakh per acre, the land sharks sold it at Rs 6.9 lakh per acre to the state government. This happened because the committee deliberately kept the price very high.

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