Three months after the tragic incident in which a woman and her minor daughter were washed away by rainwater gushing down the hills near the new Katraj Tunnel on the Pune-Satara Highway on June 6, the state government seized the five-acre landowned by one Kisan Rathod. Rathod is accused of damaging natural water currents, which led to water-logging near the tunnel, causing 14-month-old Sanskruti Wadekar and her mother Vishakha’s death.
While giving information about the auction done by the revenue department yesterday, district collector Vikas Deshmukh said that owing to the lukewarm response the state government purchased the land at Rs 1, which is henceforth a state government’s land. The action was taken under Maharashtra Agriculture lands (Holding and ceiling) Act 1961 allowing a person to hold up to 56 acres of land.
“The land is now on the state government’s name and the auction took place as scheduled since no stay order was issued by the high court,” said Deshmukh. Meanwhile Sanskruti Wadekar’s father Sachin said that the state government had unnecessarily delayed taking action on Rathod’s land. “The issue of the land, which was damaging natural water currents in Shindewadi, was hanging since 2010,” he said. He added that if the district administration had taken action in time, his wife and daughter could have been saved.