Compensation still a mirage for Seabird displaced

The foundation-stone for the project was laid on October 24, 1986. An area of 11,000 acres was acquired on the 26-km-long coastline of Karwar and Ankola taluks.

The Defence Ministry agreed for preparing a project to provide facilities for the displaced.
The defence estate officer fixed a meagre Rs 150 for each gunta of land acquired, without taking into account the produce from the farms and also their location along National Highway -17.

People in Baitakhol, Aligadda, Binaga, Araga, Sankrubhaga, Kodara, Chendia, Post Chendia, Amadalli and Mudaga in Karwar taluk, as also those in Belekeri and Haravada in Ankola taluk, held a protest against their lands being acquired for pittance.

Police force was used to evict the people. When they held a protest for months on end in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office, the State government came out with an assurance to address their grievances. But when the promise was not kept, they petitioned the court.

Rs 5,000 per gunta

The Karwar additional civil court (senior division) fixed a compensation of Rs 5,000 per gunta, following a petition by Geetha Naika. Naika filed an appeal in the High Court seeking more compensation. The court fixed Rs 12,000 as compensation per gunta. The defence estate officer appealed against the HC order in the Supreme Court. But the apex court upheld the High Court order. Other than Naika’s petition, there are 325 other cases pending in the court.

Compensation

“The defence estate officer is unnecessarily filing appeals in the court. If compensation similar to the Geetha Naika case is paid in other cases also, then the burden on the government will come down. Else, it may have to pay double the amount,” said K R Desai, the legal advisor of the Forum of the Displaced.

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