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news details
Local administration expropriates land of Basantgarh farmers without compensation
11/8/2019 10:05:22 PM
Early Times Report
UDHAMPUR, Nov 8: Strange but true, the proprietary lands of poor farmers of Basantgarh are being forcibly expropriated for the construction of a road by PMGSY Department without paying any compensation to them. Neither the consent of the land owners has been taken nor any acquisition proceedingshave been initiated as mandated under law. And the poor farmers are being pressurized and threatened to part with their agricultural lands for construction of a road from Basantgarh to Khaned so as to please political leaders and influential people residing in the said area. The local administration is reportedly supporting these influential people in divesting the farmers of their lands without following the procedure laid down under law. The departmental officers are said to have colluded with the executing agency namely National India construction company who have destroyed the agricultural fields of the farmers by trespassing and damaging several structures on the said lands in violation of the prevalent laws.
While a major portion of the proprietary lands of Baldev Singh, Kaleema Begum, Ashwani Kumar Sharma and Sagar Chand have been expropriated and damaged during the last two years, they are being threatened to part with additional and adjacent lands by the contractor and PMGSY Department without paying them even a single penny.
The executing agency has once again trespassed into the lands of these farmers along with heavy machinery and is using coercive methods to usurp the lands of poor indigent masses of the area. It has even threatened to use the police force and District Administration to expropriate the said lands and claims to be having the top District Officers of Udhampur at his beck and call.
Pertinent to mention here that no farmer can be divested of his land for any public work without initiating proceedings for acquisition of the said lands under the procedure laid down under Land Acquisition Act. The process envisages issuance of notification under Section 4 indicating the govt's intention for acquisition of land for public utility works and inviting objections from concerned parties, appointment of officers under Section 5-A for hearing objections, declaration under Section-6 specifying the public purpose, marking of land under Section 8, notice to persons interested under Section 9, enquiry and award by collector under Section 11, payment of compensation under Section 17-A. The Land Acquisition Act categorically states that collector should take posession of the land in question only after a minimum payment of atleast 80% of the proposed compensation has been paid to the land owner. It is a bizarre situation wherein the local administration was resorting to coercion and intimidation to divest the farmers of their lands without having paid even a single penny and without initiating the process as envisaged under Land Acquisition Act. The farmers claimed to have filed an FIR against the contractor and the PMGSY Department but the police department was dilly dallying on the issue in view of political clout enjoyed by the delinquents
Condemning the dictatorial approach of the local administration, Sagar Chand one of the affected farmers said that while the LAR.R Act which was implemented in all states of the country provided for payment of land compensation amounting to four times of the market value of land acquired for public works in rural areas. But in J&K, the lands of farmers were being forcibly grabbed without paying even a penny. Is this the kind of integration of J&K with Indian Union that the Modi govt had conceptualized and intended? questioned another farmer of the area.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the affected farmers have submitted a plea before the SHO, Ramnagar to register an FIR for threats, intimidation, coercion, for forcible expropriation of proprietary lands besides trespassing and wrongful deprivation of lands/property by public servants and others in circumvention of laws and prescribed guidelines.
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