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Haryana

Posted at: Feb 7, 2018, 1:21 AM; last updated: Feb 7, 2018, 1:21 AM (IST)

4 months on, notification to de-notify land awaited

Sushil Manav

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6

More than four months after the Cabinet’s decision to scrap the Dadupur-Nalvi irrigation scheme, a notification to give legal sanctity to the move is yet to be issued by the state government.

The BJP government had to face an embarrassing situation in the state Assembly during its session in October last.

It was now facing an awkward situation in district courts in Yamunanagar, where a number of farmers had moved execution proceedings for recovery of compensation awarded to them by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Farmers alleged that the government had not been paying them compensation while the government replied that the project stood scrapped and land de-notified, but was unable to produce any notification to this effect.

Principal Secretary, Irrigation Department, Anurag Rastogi, said the government would soon come out with a notification.

He failed to explain the reasons for the inordinate delay, particularly when the department could not provide any satisfactory reply in courts hearing execution pleas.

Rastogi evaded an answer to a question on the provisions under which the government planned to issue the notification since the existing laws did not provide return of land to farmers, particularly as it was acquired way back in the 1980s.

Sources said the government waiting for the President’s assent to an amendment Bill passed by the state Assembly in March last.

The Assembly had passed an amendment Bill to incorporate Section 101-A in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, to provide the state government power to de-notify a land acquired for a project.

The sources maintained that the amended Act might not serve the government’s purpose since it empowered the government to de-notify land only of projects not started in five years.

The Dadupur-Nalvi project was started in the 1980s when the state was expecting SYL waters and the canal was aimed to carry it to several areas for irrigation.

Nearly 1,000 acres was acquired for the first phase at nearly Rs 5 lakh per acre, but the government could not acquire 1,200 acres more for the second phase in 2007 due to protests by farmers.

Now, after a series of court cases filed by farmers for enhanced compensation, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had awarded around Rs 1.25 crore per acre to owners of nearly 700 acres, which came out to be Rs 3.5 crore after adding solatium, interest etc.

The Comptroller and Auditor General had already red-flagged the Rs 300 crore spent by the government so far. If the government paid the enhanced compensation, it would become Rs 2,700 crore for a practically non-functional project.

Taking these facts into consideration, the Cabinet had decided to de-notify 1,019 acres for the project on September 28 last, but a formal notification to that effect was still awaited.

Dadupur-Nalvi irrigaton scheme

  • The project was started in the 1980s when the state was expecting SYL waters and the canal was aimed to carry it to several areas for irrigation 
  • Nearly 1,000 acres was acquired for the first phase at nearly Rs 5 lakh per acre, but the government could not acquire 1,200 acres more for the second phase in 2007 due to protests by farmers

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