The Supreme Court has directed the Chandigarh administration to release 50 per cent of the enhanced compensation to owners of the land acquired for the wildlife corridor project at Kaimbwala village. Now, the administration would have to release about Rs 150 crore.
Phool Chand Dhiman, the counsel for the land owners, told Chandigarh Newsline that the Supreme Court bench, while hearing a special leave petition, stated that the amount would have to be released within six weeks.“On the remaining 50 per cent amount, the court has put a stay till the final order comes,” said Dhiman. Santosh Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forest, Chandigarh, said he has heard about the SC passing the orders but has not seen the judgment.
The wildlife corridor is to come up on 450 acres of land. In 2007, the Chandigarh administration had acquired 50 acre at Kaimbwala village for the purpose at the rate of Rs 31 lakh per acre. However, the land owners demanded enhancement and the rate was then pegged at Rs 36 lakh per acre. Not satisfied with the rate, the land owners had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court the next year and the compensation was increased to Rs 2.51 crore.
The administration then moved a review petition which was dismissed by the High Court and later the administration moved a special leave petition challenging the order. The wildlife corridor is expected to connect the area of lake reserve forest to Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary so that animals there can move freely. The corridor will help wild animals to move into the sanctuary area in case of emergencies like fire.