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Property owners cry foul over the misuse of Land Acquisition Act

Comments Off on Property owners cry foul over the misuse of Land Acquisition Act   |   December 24, 2013    04:01pm   |Contributed by manoja

HYDERABAD: Property owners whose land was taken over for various purposes in the city, are crying foul over misuse of powers by officials and intentionally dragging them to courts. They also allege harassment by the authorities against those who had approached courts seeking more compensation under the existing Land Acquisition act.

The owners have started demanding their cases be considered under the new Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which will come into effect from January 1, 2013.

Consider this, the Hyderabad district administration had acquired an eight acre prime land near ESI hospital at Sanatnagar in 2000 and till date the land owner had not received full compensation amount. He has been fighting against the meager compensation in the court. The owner approached court as the Land Acquisition Officer offered only Rs one lakh per acre as compensation considering the land as agricultural land (change of land use was not done) while the land value was Rs 20,000 per square yard in 2000 in that area. The sad part of the story was no government agency had given requisition for land acquisition.

When a land owner feels the compensation was not sufficient and injustice was been done, he/she could take the amount “under protest” and approach court under section 18 of the LA Act. “It is a herculean task for property owners to collect details of prevailing market value in the area and sale deeds registered in that area. It is also a problem to bring the witness to court, who got higher value in the same area,” I Nalinikanth, a property owner, said.

Under the new Act, preliminary notification for land acquisition should be issued by the authority by giving details like nature of public purpose involved and reasons necessitating the displacement of affected persons and summary of social impact assessment study report. The government agencies have to take over only minimum area of land required for the project.

Similarly, property owners claim the land acquisition wing authorities had been depositing compensation amount in court under section 30 of the present Act where there were more claimants for compensation or title dispute and not submitting documents.

“The Hyderabad Metro Rail and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) have been denying compensation on flimsy grounds like non-submission of certain documents and depositing the amount in courts under section 30. This has been happening in some cases especially where owners refused to give consent to the town planning wing for taking over land for road widening and metro rail project purposes,” N Vikram Reddy, a resident of Kukatpally, said.

The GHMC acquires land by invoking compulsory acquisition and urgency clause in the Act. Under the new Act, compulsory acquisition provisions should be used for public purpose or public private partnership projects where the public purpose is involved and not for private sector companies for private purposes or commercial purposes.

Meanwhile, the GHMC and HMR have speeded up notifying properties and awarding compensation under the existing Act as the new law comes into force from January 1. Sources said both agencies were expected to notify or clear acquisition of 500 properties in the next few days.

Once the new law comes into force, the GHMC and other agencies have to cough up more compensation and solatium, but also follow several procedures to complete land acquisition process, the sources said.


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