The Karnataka High Court has found that compensation being fixed based on the land price prevailing 10 years ago and uncertainty over identification of the required 20,193 acres of land are forcing the land owners to repeatedly knock on the doors of the court challenging acquisition of their land for the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project (BMICP).
A Division Bench comprising Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice H. Billappa came out with these findings in their verdict on Wednesday in a batch of petitions questioning acquisition of land alleging that land was being acquired fraudulently.
The Bench said that the price fixation committee has to do a scientific and technical survey while arriving at the price that has to be paid as compensation for the land losers. “If the delay is more than eight to 10 years, the compensation assessed based on the market value at the time of preliminary notification may not be of any help to land losers to purchase alternative property or to attend to their other needs,” the court said.
This feeling of land owners, the court said, is also one of the reasons why petitions are coming before the court challenging acquisition of land.
Similarly, the Bench said that injustice is the result if rehabilitation scheme as envisaged in the Framework Agreement is not established.
“Though rehabilitation is envisaged, it appears the scheme has not commenced so far. The State owes an obligation,” the Bench noted.
The court also found that the Government had not yet identified the entire 20,193 acres of land required for the project as per the Framework Agreement entered into with Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), which is implementing the project, even 16 years after the project was envisaged.
The Bench said that there will be no uncertainty if identification of land for various components of the project — toll road, express road, interchanges, toll plaza, service road, link road, township or the different infrastructure envisaged in Schedule 4 of the Framework Agreement — is made.
“As long as uncertainty remains, litigation will not come to an end. The instrumentalities of the State have to take a firm stand and have a dialogue with the project proponent to workout the modalities how the various components of the projects could be completed as envisaged in the Framework Agreement. This means identification of land for various components,” the court said.
The Bench observed that “when we asked the Advocate-General and counsel representing the project promoter (NICE) whether any finality with regard to the identity of land for different components of the project was made, senior counsel Dushyant Dave submitted that the project proponent need not answer these details as it has answered them in an earlier round of litigation.” However, the court said that such identification was not forthcoming.