Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday asked Maharashtra Government to file a reply to a PIL, which alleged that huge chunks of land cultivated by tribals in suburban Goregaon and Powai since 1861, had been illegally transferred to non-tribals, government and private institutions.
Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi directed the state to file affidavit by November 15 and deferred the matter for hearing to November 19.
The PIL, filed by Manav Vikas Prakalp, alleged that from 1964 onwards, the plots of land cultivated by tribals were either leased out, or transferred to non-tribals. Further, since 1990, displaced tribals were asked to take NOC from the institutions (to whom, their land had been transferred) for undertaking any development work in the area.
The PIL said in 1990 that the state government had earmarked Rs 1,457 crore for providing facilities to tribals living in the city but the same had not been utilised for their benefit. It was also not known how the funds were used.
From 1990 to 2011, the petitioner had raised issues of non-implementation of schemes under Tribal Development Department before bodies such as Lokayukta, the PIL said adding that looking into deplorable condition of tribals, the state, in 2003, had directed Pune-based Tribal Research Training Institute to conduct survey of 71 tribal hamlets in the city. The report said basic amenities were not available to tribals.
The PIL alleged that a large number of tribals suffer from malnutrition and many children of such families die as a result thereof. It prayed for a direction to the state to provide power, water, schools and public transport to the areas, where tribals live.