High land rates delaying works: CM

Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 14

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today said exorbitant land acquisition rates were making it difficult for the government to construct roads or execute other major projects like the Dhaul Sidh hydropower project.

Replying to a question by Rajinder Rana and Ramesh Dhwala during the question hour in the Vidhan Sabha today, he said negotiation committees had been constituted at the sub-divisional level and the acquisition rates would be finalised only after holding talks with landowners.

He said that the 66-MW project to be set up at a cost of Rs 668 crore required the acquisition of 331.92 hectares, including 57.73 hecatres of private land in Kangra and Hamirpur districts. “A total of 427 affected families are to be given compensation under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, but nobody is being pressured to do so,” he said. He added that 67 per cent of the land had already been acquired.

The Chief Minister urged the elected representatives to help in land acquisition so that no development project is delayed. “I feel the compensation being given for agricultural fertile, barren and other categories of land is as per value but the final rate is yet to be fixed,” he said.

Dhwala said the project was getting delayed for the last 22 years and the affected families should get jobs and other benefits. Replying to a query by Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh said Rs 150 crore would be spent by March-end under the Rs 1,134-crore Horticulture Development project.

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