KARNATAKA

Revanna for probe into payment of excess compensation

HASSAN, NOV. 29. The Minister for Public Works and Energy, H.D. Revanna, today called for an inquiry by the Revenue Secretary into the "exorbitant" compensation paid to a "select few" for the land acquired from them during the construction of the Hemavathi Right Bank Canal (HLBC).

Chairing the Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) review meeting here, he took the Irrigation and Revenue department authorities to task for disbursing "exorbitant" compensation to a few and accused the officials of "looting public money."

Explanation sought

He said that while compensation had not been paid to a majority of the displaced farmers, the Revenue authorities paid four times the compensation due to some persons. He demanded an explanation from the authorities concerned for their failure to notify the land under Section 4 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act even 15 years after the completion of work on the canal.

In his reply to the Minister's queries, the land acquisition officer said the Irrigation Department had yet to clear 56 cases and disburse compensation of Rs. 13.75 crores to the displaced farmers.

Not satisfied with the explanation, Mr. Revanna asked why four times the actual compensation due was paid to some persons and why the officials had not appealed to higher courts on the matter.

Mr. Revanna also said that government records showed that Rs. 25 lakh had been paid to the occupants to the Janata houses that were acquired. Though the Government had sought an explanation for the amount paid, the authorities were yet to reply. He asked the Revenue and Irrigation secretaries to conduct a detailed inquiry in to the "illegal payment of compensation." He also directed the authorities concerned to submit a detailed report on the matter.

Mr. Revanna directed the authorities of the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam to complete the work on the Sriramadevara canal at the earliest so that water could be released into it in summer. He also directed them to disburse compensation to the villagers whose lands were submerged in the Hemavathi backwaters.

Crop insurance

The Joint Director of Agriculture, H.P. Mahesh Gowda, told the meeting that the district had received Rs. 9.23 crores for the settlement of crop insurance claims by farmers.

Officials of the Cooperation Department said that the insurance due to farmers had been adjusted against their outstanding loans.

Mr. Revanna asked them not to do so, as it would only add to the problems being faced by farmers.

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