New Delhi, July 9
The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Centre on the Himachal Pradesh government’s petition seeking Rs 1,981 crore to be paid to farmers, whose land was acquired for the Renuka Dam and for meeting the project cost.
A Bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and R Banumathi asked the Centre to file its response within 10 days and posted the case for next hearing on July 20.
Appearing for the state government, senior advocate JS Attri said the dam, which would be constructed on Yamuna river at a cost of Rs 6,000 crore, had been declared as a national project and as such the Centre would have to meet 90 per cent of the cost.
The state had already acquired land for the project at a cost of over Rs 200 crore and paid part of the compensation amount to the farmers on the directive of the HP High Court. The state government was facing financial crunch and as such was not in a position to pay further compensation to comply with another High Court order passed on November 20, 2014.
The state has come to the SC challenging the 2014 order as the HC had failed to appreciate the constraints of the government. Attri pointed out that the state had written to the Centre time and again seeking funds, but to no avail.
At this, the Bench summoned Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and asked him to find out the steps taken by the Centre to meet the state’s demand. “It is a national project. Why are you not looking into the matter,” it asked.
The state has sought the funds as the first instalment of the project cost. Besides generation of electricity, the dam was meant for supplying water to Delhi as per the national capital’s entitlement from the Yamuna river. The pipeline from the dam to Delhi could also be utilised for sharing the Yamuna water with other riparian states – Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Himachal Pradesh would be entitled to 40 mw of electricity free of cost from the project.
The Bench also issued a notice to the Delhi government. It, however, said there was no immediate need to seek the response of the farmers who had got the HC order in their favour to get compensation.
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