Land acquisition hurdle for Harihar-Kottur rly line

Land acquisition hurdle for Harihar-Kottur rly line

The railway line, work on which started in 2001-02, should have been operationalised in 2009. Hurdles created by farmers who are seeking more compensation for the land acquired from them has delayed the project. Though work on much of the stretch has been completed, delay in completing a small part of the line has been a cause for concern.

As much as 930 acres has been acquired from the farmers for the Rs 380-crore project. An amount of Rs 19 crore has been provided as compensation to the farmers so far.
The compensation amount matches the current market rates displayed in the sub-registrar’s office.

However, farmers in six villages of Harihar taluk have approached the court for more compensation. These farmers have been awarded Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 per acre of land acquired. However, farmers between Doddabathi-Kodihalli and Amaravati-Doggalli have been given Rs 6.75 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh per acre under the ‘concern award’, for land acquired for a railway goodshed.

This has led other farmers to demand that they too should be provided compensation as per the ‘concern award’ and are creating hurdles for the completion of the project.

The erstwhile deputy commissioner, K Amaranarayana, had written to the government 18 months ago, suggesting that all court cases be resolved through Lok Adalat.  With this being a unique case, the State government could not decide immediately.

The State government asked the Railway officials to give an approval letter in this regard. This being a unique case to the Railway department also, steps would be taken after consulting legal experts, Railway sources said.

According to farmer leaders, the farmers had displayed rates lesser than the market rates of their land in the sub-registrar’s office.

Hence, if the government provides compensation based on that, it would be a loss for them. It is in this light that the farmers have approached the court. Rates under ‘concern award’ can be provided only to those farmers in the urban areas, based on the expert committee report. Compensation is provided to land acquired in rural areas under the ‘general award’, the sources said.

When the railway line is completed, trains going to Hospet need not travel via Hubli. This line will reduce the distance to Hyderabad and important cities of North India.

Besides facilitating movement of goods trains, it will also boost trade in the region. With work progressing on the railway line, land rates in Telgi and other places of Harapanahalli taluk also shot up. Non-cooperation of the farmers is delaying the project, said a railway official on condition of anonymity.

M S K Shastry, president of the South Western Railway Users’ Grievances Redressal Welfare Association, said engine trial had already been conducted on the completed portion of the line.

If the Commissioner of Railway Safety gives the nod, the line can be opened for traffic on the Harihar-Kottur stretch by August. But that can happen only if the farmers co-operate, he added.

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