Punjab

Compensation to farmers for Delhi-Katra highway

Punjab Tribune Bureau | May 16, 2022 06:23 PM

Gadkari assures fair compensation; to appoint arbitrator

 CHANDIGARH: The union minister for surface transport, Nitink Gadkari has assured to appoint an arbitrator to sort out the issue of inadequate compensation for land acquired for various highway projects in Punjab.

This was disclosed by Independent MLA from Sultanpur Lodhi, Rana Inder Partap Singh at a press conference, here today.

After having been denied permission to raise the issue of inadequate compensation for land acquired of Punjabis for Jammu-Katra Expressway and other projects of Highways in the recent session of Vidhan Sabha, Rana Inder Partap personally met the Union Minister in New Delhi recently.

Rana Inder disclosed that Mr Gadkari assured that fair compensation would be provided to all those whose land was being acquired and are facing eviction.

“Since it is the people of Doaba region in Punjab who were largely affected by these projects, I wanted to raise the matter on the floor of Vidhan Sabha, but unfortunately instead of listening to the grievances of Punjabis, Speaker preferred to order my ouster from house”, Rana rued adding that people (large chunk of which are farmers) fear of injustice and unfair equitable compensation due to the biased actions of lower officials (contrary to the intentions of the Government of India policy) were leading to immense mental distress and anguish for the affected families.

In the meeting with Gadkari, Rana demanded that the rate of compensation as per the government’s directions should be provided and it has to be commensurate to the highest rate of the registries in the concerned area during the last 3 years, which is unfortunately not being followed.

“Government of India appointed an arbitrator in February 2021 to decide the appeals. However, he completed his tenure a year later in which time he failed to reach a decision. To date no new arbitrator has been appointed. It is imperative that a new arbitrator is appointed to review and reach a decision with regards to the appeals in a timely manner of 3 months”, Rana apprised Gadkari.

He claimed that in many cases where land is held in the name of more than one person, however, possession is with only one of them, the payment of compensation should only be made to the person in possession.

The Independent MLA said in Sultanpur Lodhi the basic compensation per acre has been fixed anywhere between 5 lacs -10 lacs per acre, while as today there is nowhere in the country where one could acquire irrigated agricultural land at that price, hence the need for raising the compensation.

Citing the injustice with the people of his constituency, Rana said In Sultanpur Lodhi there is an area where there are two highways proposed: the Amritsar-Jamnagar Highway and the Jammu-Katra Highway. However, there is a vast difference in the basic rate of compensation offered in the same village ranging from 10 lacs per acre to 17 lacs per acre.

“In village Tibba one piece of land where the two highways cross, Jammu-Katra Highway offered 10 lacs in compensation and Amritsar-Jamnagar offered 17 lacs. This clearly illustrates the injustice faced by the landowners when receiving compensation”, he said while giving a specific example of injustice.

“I even explained to the Union Minister about the technical faults of the highway projects which may cause acute problems for the farmers and people of Punjab, especially in the area of Sultanpur Lodhi, which faced floods many times and these technical faults will multiply the threat of flood in the area”, Rana Inder said.

Minister Gadkari, according to MLA Rana, said that an arbitrator will be appointed very soon to sort out the matter at the earliest. He added that the Minister assured of calling a meeting with the affected farmers’ representatives very soon for detailed discussion on the grievances to get these resolved.

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