Landowners prevail upon DC to change words in RTC; seek more solatium

After a boycott, calls of protest, and a thin turnout, talks with villagers who will lose their land to the proposed HPCL Mangalore-Bangalore LPG pipeline project bore little progress on Saturday. However, after hearing complaints, the district administration said they would, if land was consented for the project, change the tag in the land records that would allow for easier transaction of the property under which the pipeline passes.

The meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim, focused on safety issues, terms of using the restored land, and compensation. With an acquisition of additional 6m (for movement of heavy vehicles), the proposed pipeline will run parallel to the corridor demarcated by the HPCL/Petronet Petrol pipeline laid in 2001.

A repeated complaint aired was that after the land is restored and returned to the farmer, the RTC (Rights, Tenancy and Crops) document will record that the “rights are reserved” to HPCL. “This makes the land worthless. Our valuation will go down, and no one will be interested in buying the land,” said K.S. Ballal, from Peranki village, Belthangady taluk.

Mr. Ibrahim said the wordings would be changed, instead a “pipeline passes through this” will be recorded so that future landowners will be aware of the project. As the land is “temporarily acquired” under the Petroleum and Minerals Pipeline (Right of User in Land) Act, 1962, which returns the land after the laying of the underground pipe, the affected persons are given just 10 per cent of the guidance value.

A few villagers expressed willingness if the compensation was increased. “We can’t cultivate on it, we can’t build on it. But, if everyone is giving then we will also have to. But, we want the compensation to increase,” said Dayanand from Kallia village, Belthangady taluk. Those who will lose their land in Belthangady can attend another round of talks in Belthangady taluk office on January 29 starting 10 a.m., while the meeting for those in Mangalore is on January 30 at the taluk panchayat hall here.

Meet begins with walkout

The meeting with persons who will be affected by the pipeline started with nearly 30 persons leaving the venue – protesting against the delayed start. Though the meeting was scheduled at 11 a.m., Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim came at 11.40 a.m. By then, many who admitted that they came to express dissent – had left the hall. Mr. Ibrahim said the meeting was scheduled for 11.30 a.m. and pulled up Special Land Acquisition officer Krishna Murthy for the confusion.

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