Widow brings KPCL to its knees

For two decades, the company dodged paying Gange compensation

The lower court at Haliyal in Uttara Kannada had ordered that the KPCL property be attached to pay compensation to Gange, widow of Shivanand Hegde of Yellapur, whose two-acre land was acquired by KPCL for its Kali Hydel Power Project (KHPP) 21 years ago.
After acquiring land for KHPP in Yellapur and Haliyal in 1989, KPCL failed to pay compensation to the people whose land was acquired.

The compensation announced by the KPCL was fixed at Rs three lakh per acre, a comparatively less amount as against the market rates. After hearing several petitions filed with it, the local court ordered that KPCL pay Gange Rs 8.56 lakh as compensation.

Award challenged

However, KPCL, whose total income last year was Rs 4437.7 crore and profit Rs 277.30 crore after taxes, challenged the award before the High Court bench at Dharwad.

The division bench comprising of Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice B V Nagarathna on July 24, 2009 reduced the compensation amount to Rs 6.63 lakh, a solatium of 30 percent of that amount and interest at 12 percent on the compensation from the date of preliminary notification to the date of taking possession to the land losers.  

KPCL was also directed to pay an additional 15 percent interest from the date of possession to the date of depositing the amount in Gange’s bank account within three months of the order. But KPCL failed to implement the order for more than an year, forcing Gange to file an execution petition with the lower court at Haliyal seeking directions to implement the High Court order.

The court issued an attachment warrant against the KPCL. However, at the initiative of KPCL Managing Director S M Jaamdar, a meeting was arranged between counsels for Gange and officers of KPCL, wherein the law officer of KPCL gave an undertaking that the High Court order will be complied with in 10 days.

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