In a major move to compensate farmers whose lands have been acquired for dam projects, Courts in Gujarat are now attaching civic bodies’ properties to pay the farmers in the state. According to The Indian Express, An Amreli Court has attached three cars and furniture items of the state irrigation department after the state government despite nine court orders, did not pay due to nine farmers whose land was acquired for the Thebi and Vadiya dam projects in the district. The attached cars and furniture of the office of the executive engineer were officially put in the custody of the court.
Hemant Patel of the irrigation department was quoted as saying by IE that the court warrants were erroneous and that the government would appeal against them. However, lawyers of farmers are pleased with the courts using their long arm against the government. Jitendra Senjaliya, advocate, was quoted as saying by IE that he hopes that the attachment of assets will open the eyes of the government and it will comply with the order to pay higher compensation to farmers with interest.
According to Senjaliya, the irrigation department had acquired around 4.74 bigha (75.35 gunthas) land from late farmer Jeram Kathiriya for the Thebi dam project. But, the govt paid him compensation for around 2.5 bigha (35.35 gunthas).
In a similar case last month, a Vadodara Civil Court had issued a distress warrant against Vadodara Municipal Corporation and Special Land Acquisition office. The court attached property worth Rs 1,16,47,608, including the office chairs and cars of VMC commissioner, deputy commissioner, mayor, deputy mayor and other officers, after the civic body failed to compensate a farmer whose agricultural land was acquired in 1976.
In this case, 3900 square metre of cultivable land belonging to Saheda Ashfaq Hakim and Mushir Ashfaq Hakim was acquired by the VMC in 1976 for a road project. The couple received approximately Rs 6,000 in 1982 as total compensation, which was much less than the market value. According to the Hakims, the market value of the acquired land was Rs 250 per square metre then, amounting to Rs 7.50 lakh.