Farmers who parted with their land for highway projects are to get enhanced compensation under the new land acquisition law in case they are yet to be compensated under the old legislation. The move will lead to rolling out projects worth crores of rupees embroiled in about 2,000 cases, a top official said.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced recently that government is mulling higher payment to farmers and is also contemplating equity for them.
"The Ministry has directed NHAI, NHIDCL and others to enhance compensation to farmers as per provisions of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, (RFCTLARR Act) 2013 in cases were award was fixed as per old law but compensation has not been paid to land owners," an official told PTI.
He said the decision will also be applicable to farmers whose awards were fixed prior to January 1, 2015 but physical possession of land so acquired has not been taken.
The ministry has already sought legal opinion from Additional Solicitor General of India Pinky Anand.
"The issue was referred to the Additional Solicitor General of India…It has been opined that in cases initiated under NH Act 1956 but award has not been announced by December 31, 2014, RFCTLARR Act 2013 will apply under section 24 (I)… You are therefore requested to take necessary action towards settlement of cases," the official said, quoting the letter by the ministry to its various wings.
He said the ministry earlier considered applicability of RFCTLARR Act provisions in compensation "for the purpose of settlement of the cases of acquisition of land for National Highways projects, where award of compensation had been made prior to January 1, 2015 but either the amount of compensation has not been paid to the erstwhile land owners or physical possession of the land so acquired has not been taken".
NHAI last week said it has kickstarted the work of Eastern Peripheral Expressway, which was held up due to land acquisition problems on the Palwal side after the release of enhanced compensation.