Dalits demand public road after 58 years
Dalits living in Jaipur district’s Sundarpura village since 1961 have sought the construction of a public road to their locality after their influential neighbours blocked their way with wire fencing and boulders last month.
Having been cut off from the main link road, the Dalit residents of Rangaura Basti are confined to their locality.
PIL in High Court
Four persons from the locality, who are landless and daily wage workers, have filed a public interest litigation in the Rajasthan High Court seeking directions to the State government to acquire private land in the vicinity of Rangaura Basti and construct a road to give them a “life with dignity”.
The petitioners also sought a compensation of ₹10 lakh each to the 88 households in the locality for the failure of the government authorities to give them the right of way and access to public road for the last 58 years.
A Division Bench of the High Court asked the petitioners to approach the Jaipur Collector and directed him to have their grievances examined by deputing a Sub-Divisional Officer or Tehsildar. The court directed the Collector to take a decision on the Dalit residents’ representation in accordance with the law within three months.
The labourers — Kailash Chand Arya, Santosh Kumar, Rich Pal and Ram Niwas Arya — pointed out that the Dalit families were first allotted the land in Kotputli tehsil’s Sundarpura village in 1961 and subsequently several times till 2017.
In the absence of a road to their locality, Dalits have been using pagdandis (tracks) through the agricultural land in the vicinity. The owners of these plots of land blocked the tracks last month.
The village panchayat had passed resolutions several times to get the new way through private land of those in the neighbourhood, but no action was taken. A government primary school running in Rangaura Basti since 1999, an anganwadi centre and a community centre have been facing difficulty because of the lack of road.
Petitioners’ counsel Satish Kumar said the PIL had invoked the principle of “eminent domain”, involving the power of government to take private property and convert it into public use, to seek the construction of road which will be used by all the villagers and not only the Dalits.
The private land for the purpose could be acquired under the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, he said.
Courtesy : The Hindu