Staff Reporter

Appellants say that their lands are agricultural

in nature

Government says there are no infirmities in

the acquisition

BANGALORE: In a major relief to the State Government and to Nagarjuna Power Company, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday upheld the acquisition of land for the 1015 Mega Watt (MW) coal-based thermal power project.

A Division Bench comprising Justice K. Sreedhar Rao and Justice L. Narayanaswamy passed the order on appeals by Deju Shetty and several other residents of Yellur village in Udupi district.

The appellants had challenged a single judge order of November 29, 206 dismissing their petitions against acquisition of 12 acres of land by the Karnataka Industries Areas Development Board (KIADB) for the power project.

They said their lands were agricultural in nature and that they come under the villages of Santhoor, Tenka and Padabettu villages. They contended that though the preliminary acquisition was issued on January 21, 1995, the final notification was issued only in May 28, 1998. The Government had not taken possession of their lands even 10 years after they were sought to be acquired. It is only now that the Government is taking steps to dispossess them from their lands.

They questioned the Mahazar of August 9, 2005 by the authorities taking possession of their lands. They claimed that the Mahazar is fabricated. The delay in acquiring the lands has led to a quantum leap in the market prices of the lands.

Moreover, there is no rehabilitation package though the authorities are bound to have one before displacing them from their homes. They said they would be put to immense hardship if their lands are acquired and urged the Bench to set aside the single judge order.

Appearing for the Government, Advocate-General Uday Holla defended the acquisitions, saying that they are as per the law and that there are no infirmities. He had said that there was no delay in acquisition proceedings and that notices had been given to the residents.

The KIADB said it had acquired 500 acres of land for the project and the acquisition was as per the rules.

The Bench upheld the single judge order and dismissed the appeals against the acquisition of land. It, however, said that the authorities would have to pay compensation at the rate of 12 per cent annum to the appellants for the delay in acquiring their lands. The Bench also allowed an appeal by Nagarjuna against the order of another single judge in passing an interim order granting relief to residents of other villages.