Days after a mine owned by the family of mining baron Sanjay Pathak was shut down in Jabalpur, the administration of Umaria district on Saturday removed a portion of a resort owned by him near the Bandhavagarh Tiger Reserve (BTR).
Accusing the BJP legislator of encroaching upon 2-hectare government land, the administration demolished a watchtower, a guard room and a boundary wall built on the encroached portions.
The Pathak family owns nearly 17-hectare land near the BTR. While the resort is built on a 5.44-acre land, the encroachment was on a bigger plot of government land.
Collector Swarochish Somvanshi told The Indian Express that the owners of 11 resorts had been served notices in February 2019 asking them to remove encroachment on their own within a week. They were charged a fine of Rs 500 per day after that. The owners neither removed the encroachment nor appealed against the order.
The Umaria collector, who was present during the demolition drive, said the action against 10 other resorts will follow. He said the administration began the crackdown with the legislator’s resort because it was guilty of encroachment on the biggest chunk of government land. The BJP described the action as vendetta. Pathak, who was a Congress MLA before he joined the BJP in 2014, was not available for comment.
Pathak won on a BJP ticket in a by-election and went on to become a minister in Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Former CM and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had also accused Chouhan, Pathak and three others of horse-trading in a bid to topple the Kamal Nath government.
Two days after the Jabalpur district administration shut down mines owned by Pathak in Sehora, he had alleged a witch hunt against him and claimed that he could be murdered for political gains. “The entire state knows what’s happening to me. They could even kill me for political gains,” he said in the video Friday.
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