NHAI ready to pay four times of market value as land compensation but J&K Govt not interested - watsupptoday.com
NHAI ready to pay four times of market value as land compensation but J&K Govt not interested
Posted 24 Jan 2018 03:20 PM

Agencies
Senior officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on Tuesday revealed to STATE TIMES that none other than the Government of Jammu and Kashmir is the roadblock in paying suitable compensation and extending rehabilitation bonanza to land owners for constructing two ring roads around Srinagar and Jammu capital cities.
“We are going to spend more than Rs 5,000 crore on the two ambitious road projects in Srinagar and Jammu. Spending Rs 1,000 crore on land acquisition and rehabilitation of the affected population is not a big issue with us. We are very much ready to pay the land owners four times of the market value under the Central Act as we do throughout the country. Since the Central Act is not applicable to J&K because of the State’s special status, it is for the J&K Government to adopt a similar law and stop acquiring land forcibly under the hundred years old archaic law. The Assembly is in session. It will take them just an hour to do it”, said a senior NHAI functionary on telephone from his New Delhi office.
“They have developed a bad habit of blaming others for their own faults and failures. They should not let anybody create an impression of the Centre being an aggressor. We sincerely want development and best possible rehabilitation of the farmers whose land is being acquired for a vast road communication network in Jammu and Kashmir”, said the official on condition of anonymity. Project Director for the two ring road s based in Jammu, Ajay Razak could not be reached for his comments but his subordinates insisted that they had given in writing to officers of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir that NHAI was ready to pay land compensation to farmers under a State law identical to the Centre’s “Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2015”, commonly known as LARR Act. Vide No: PD/SGR/14039/01/2016/Ring Road/75 dated October 4 2017, Project Director of Srinagar Ring Road has clarified to Deputy Commissioner of Budgam that the mode of acquisition by way of private negotiations was not agreeable to NHAI in case of a bulk land acquisition. He had made it clear in absence of a LARR-type law, “compulsory acquisition mode would have to be adopted”.
“Furthermore, the same has been discussed during the various meetings held by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, along with concerned Deputy Commissioners. During the meetings it was also discussed that compensation for land acquisition cases may be finalised by adopting RFCTLARR Act of Govt. of India (copy enclosed) if deemed fit”, Project Director of Srinagar Ring Road has written to DC Budgam in the same communication.
Budgam Deputy Commissioner, Mohammad Haroon Malik, as also two other DCs in Kashmir and Jammu told STATE TIMES that they accordingly took up the matter for seeking opinion of the State Government. “We were advised to process all cases of the land compensation for the Ring Road as per the State’s conventional law, Jammu and Kashmir State Land Acquisition Act, 1990 (1934 A.D) that had been copied from then British India law and adopted by Maharaja Hari Singh’s regime. Under that law and the rules related thereto, we have no option but to pay only the stamp duty rate fixed for a particular area plus 15 per cent Jabrana in case the private negotiations fail”, said one of the DCs.
The DC added that in “almost all cases”, private negotiations fail and the collectors are constrained to acquire the land forcibly. This highhandedness of the State Government is particularly questionable in the State of Jammu and Kashmir where Right to Property continues to be a constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right. Forty-fourth amendment to Constitution made in Indira Gandhi’s regime in 1978 is not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and the State has never adopted it through its own legislation.
DC Budgam Haroon Malik said that the State land had been already given in possession of NHAI while as awards for the proprietary land were in the final stage of completion. Both, DC Budgam, as well as ADC Jammu Dr Aun Manhas, said that “not a single land owner” was happy with the compensation to be paid under State’s 1934 law. “We pay them stamp duty rate plus 15 per cent Jabrana. They receive it under protest and approach a District Judge with appeal”, Dr Manhas said.
By now it is clear that simply for its disinclination or failure to upgrade the 1934 law and make it identical to LARR Act of the Centre, Government of Jammu and Kashmir is not only creating scene for thousands of litigations that could hamper the pace of the Centre-supported constructions but also forcing land owners to accept only one-fourth or even lesser of what they would have taken under LARR-type law. A senior bureaucrat insisted that the Government’s reservation was because of the fact that once adopted a LARR-type law would compel to pay Rs 4 crore for the land which it can currently acquire for just Rs 1 crore. However, two retired Assistant Commissioners of Revenue maintained that the LARR-type law would leave no room for a powerful network of land brokers and Revenue officials who manage sizable cuts for themselves and their patrons in politics and bureaucracy out of the private negotiations. According to them, the 1934 law was a major source of corruption as each partner makes Rs one lakh to Rs 10 lakh from each kanal of land acquired by the government. “Under LARR-type law, you have to go by the market rate, or at least the stamp duty rate, plus three times of it. One part of it, around 25 per cent , has to be paid as solatium. There is a fixed formula. But in private negotiations under the existing State law, Patwari and land brokers settle the deals and make crores”, said one of the two retired officers.
Under the State law, not more than Rs 10-15 lakh would be paid for a kanal of land in Chadoura (Budgam) and RS Pura (Jammu). Under the LARR-type law, the owner will get around Rs 1.50 crore for the same plus a job and other benefits for the related persons of interest affected by the land acquisition.
Over 12,000 kanals of land has to be acquired for the 62-Km long 60M/40M wide semi-ring road connecting Pampore-Chadoura-Budgam-Narbal-Ganderbal and passing through 67 villages around Greater Srinagar, and 57-Km long 60M/40M semi-ring road taking off at Rai Morh of Vijaypur in Samba, passing through 44 villages in Samba, Bishnah and Jammu and ending at Nagrota Bypass.
Semi-ring road in Jammu has been recently allotted to a joint venture of two infrastructure companies while as tenders have not been floated for two phases of the semi-ring road around Srinagar since the day it was first announced by then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in 2013 and approved for Central funding by Narendra Modi government at the Centre in April 2017.
Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari had announced after inauguration of the road tunnel at Nashri by Prime Minister Modi on April 3, 2017, that tenders for the Srinagar semi-ring road would be floated within two months. He had announced at this occasion that the Centre had approved Rs 2,200 crore for the Srinagar semi-ring road and Rs 2,100 crore for the Jammu semi-ring road.

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