August 5, 2021 4:48:10 am
Several landowners and farmers from Dahod have challenged the Gujarat government’s 2017 guidelines which lay down the mode and manner of assessment of compensation or damages that occur due to erection and installation of transmission towers and transmission lines, seeking that the guidelines be applied retrospectively as well.
The Gujarat High Court on August 2 issued notice to the government authorities, keeping it returnable for August 6.
In an August 2017 resolution by the energy and petrochemicals department framing the guidelines for compensation, it was stated that the guideline would apply prospectively.
As many as 59 original landowners or farmers from Charchoda village in Garbada taluka of Dahod and a farmers association — Khedut Utkarsh Mandal – which the remaining 59 petitioners are members of, have now moved a petition before the High Court challenging the resolution, which is “contrary” to the guidelines issued by the Central government in 2015, as submitted by the petitioners.
Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, engaged in bulk transmission of power in the country, erects transmission poles and towers and installs transmission lines in private and government lands.
The petitioners, who have been adversely affected by this activity, have submitted that the value of their land has diminished due to such installation and has had to suffer loss of trees and crops as well. It is the petitioners’ case that as per existing provision of the Telegraph Act, this loss is required to be fully compensated but till date, compensation for the loss of trees and crops has been awarded “and that too to very few affected landowners/farmers.”
In 2015, the central government had framed guidelines to this effect, which stated that 855 percent of the value of land falling beneath the tower or pole base and 15 percent of the land value within the transmission corridor for right of way (ROW) is to be paid. In August 2017, the state government framed the guidelines for compensation. However, when the Khedut Utkarsh Mandal sou-ght compensation from PGCIL in 2017, the latter informed that they are not entitled to the compensation under the Gujarat government guidelines as the same were not applicable retrospectively.
The petitioners submitted before Gujarat HC that the Centre’s guidelines are not made applicable prospectively alone and thus the Gujarat government’s guidelines run contrary to the Centre’s guidelines of 2015.
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