CAG finds “inadmissible payment” in Polavaram works

Special Correspondent

VIJAYAWADA: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found fault with the Projects Wing of the Irrigation and Command Area Development (I & CAD) Department for making an “inadmissible payment of compensation” to the tune of Rs. 57.16 lakh for Indira Sagar Project (Polavaram) works.

In its report for the year ending March 31, 2008 tabled in the State Assembly on Tuesday, the CAG pointed out that Special Deputy Collector, Land Acquisition, Indira Sagar Project, Right Main Canal Unit-III, Vijayawada made the payment towards compensation for the borewells intended for irrigation on the lands acquired, in addition to the value of the land, contrary to the Supreme Court’s observations and instructions of the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration.

As per the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the amount of compensation to be awarded for land acquired under the Act, should be determined by taking into consideration the market value of the land on the date of publication of notification by the Government. The apex court too had held that the wells used for irrigation of lands should not be valued separately, in addition to the value of the land, while determining the compensation. The Chief Commissioner of Land Administration issued instructions in July 1999 to all the collectors and special collectors that compensation should not be separately awarded for wells and pipelines. But, it was observed that in September 2007 the Special Deputy Collector (Land Acquisition) of Indira Sagar Project made such an “inadmissible payment” for the lands acquired in five villages. The CAG did not concur with the reply furnished by the Special Deputy Collector in November 2007 that the farmers had invested substantial amount for digging borewells and laying pipelines for irrigating the lands that were acquired and, hence, compensation for the same was paid. “The reply is not acceptable since the Supreme Court in its judgment clearly opined that irrigation well in an acquired agricultural land cannot have a value apart from the value of the land itself, and also due to the fact that the payments were made in violation of the orders ,” it said.

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