Farmers Fight for Fair Compensation in Power Grid Land Dispute

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Farmers Fight for Fair Compensation in Power Grid Land Dispute

| Updated: March 8, 2024 16:41

Farmers Fight for Fair Compensation in Power Grid Land Dispute

Ahmedabad: Two farmers from Valsad district are taking a stand against the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL) in the Gujarat High Court. Kusumben Desai and Hemant Desai are challenging the company’s attempt to build a transmission tower and lay down power lines on their farmland.

The crux of the issue lies in compensation. The farmers argue that the amount offered by PGCIL falls short compared to what landowners received for similar projects, like the bullet train and national highway initiatives.

Desai and Desai initially voiced their objection to the district collector. However, the collector’s December 2023 order rejected their claim. This prompted them to seek legal recourse through lawyer Anand Yagnik.

Their argument hinges on the 2015 central government notification implementing the Land Acquisition Act, 2013. This act, they assert, includes the Electricity Act under which PGCIL operates, and mandates fair compensation for land acquisition.

The crux of their objection goes beyond just the compensation rate. They argue that even if their land isn’t entirely acquired, the presence of the transmission tower renders it unusable. Therefore, they deserve compensation at the full acquisition rate.

Adding another layer to the dispute, the farmers claim they weren’t properly heard by the district collector before the order was passed. The authorities, however, maintain that the collector’s records reflect the farmers’ objections. Desai and Desai vehemently deny being present during the hearing, calling it a “blatant lie.”

Justice V. D. Nanavati has directed the authorities to produce records proving the farmers’ presence at the hearing. This development suggests the court is taking the farmers’ claims seriously and seeks transparency in the land acquisition process.

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