Thursday, October 30, 2008

BMIC: court ruling gives hope to farmers, land owners

BMIC: court ruling gives hope to farmers, land owners


‘Individual cases of whether the land fell within FWA not examined’

Government restrained from taking possession of a farmer’s land at Thotadaguddadahalli

Farmers, land owners encouraged by the interim order of the court

Bangalore: Coming to the rescue of farmers and land owners in the controversial Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, the Karnataka High Court in its recent interim order has decided to examine the issue whether the land acquired for the project falls within the Frame Work Agreement (FWA).

In the interim order, the court has come to the conclusion that earlier verdicts, upholding the acquisition of land for the project, were of general in nature on the ground that land was required for the public purpose, but those verdicts did not examine the individual cases on whether the land fell within the alignment as per the FWA, which was upheld by the courts.

These observations have now opened the doors of the courts for many farmers and land owners to litigate afresh against the acquisition of their land.

A Division Bench comprising Justice V. Gopalagowda and Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana made these observations in its interim order of September 26 on an appeal filed by M. Nagabushan, who owns land at Thotadaguddadahalli, off Tumkur Road. While referring to the FWA and other documents, the Bench said: “None of the land situated at Thotadaguddadahalli village is required for the BMICP for any purpose.

“Thus from these documents there is no difficulty for us in coming to a prima facie conclusion that the land belonging to the appellant is outside the FWA.”

The Bench while admitting the appeal by Mr. Nagabushan has restrained the Government from taking possession of seven acres and 23 guntas of land belonging to him pending final hearing on the plea.

Farmers and land owners, who have been fighting over the issue of acquisition of their land situated away from the road alignment and proposed townships, and contrary to the FWA, are optimistic about the fallout of this interim order.

“We have been contending that hundreds of acres of land, exceeding the 20,193 acres of land required for BMICP as per the FWA, were acquired by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB). Our contention has now got legal support following the observation by the High Court,” said S. Manjunath, a farmer who is fighting the acquisition of excess land for the project by the KIADB.

Mr. Manjunath said although the High Court was yet to give final verdict on this issue and the interim order is applicable only to the appellant, the interim observations have encouraged other farmers and land owners, who have been aggrieved by the action of the KIADB. Acquisition of land outside the purview of the FWA had made the lives of many farmers miserable.”

“The State Government, which is aware of the acquisition of excess land, at least now should come to the rescue of farmers and land owners by placing all relevant records and documents before the court,” he said.


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