In a significant judgment pertaining to land acquired by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine board for Vaishno Devi University at Karkyal, Katra, the Reasi district court has enhanced the land compensation for more than 150 claimants from Rs 25,000 per kanal to Rs 1 lakh per kanal.
The shrine board had acquired land from residents of Karkyal for construction of the university in 2000, for which the collector (land acquisition) had awarded the compensation at the rate Rs 25,000 per canal for cultivable land, Rs 15,000 for 'banjar qadeem' and Rs 10, 000 for 'gair mumkin' land.
Not satisfied by the decision of the collector, more than 150 claimants and land owners knocked the doors of the court for justice and submitted that very low compensation had been granted by the collector.
Land owners also submitted that the board acquired 5,800 kanals of agricultural land that, too, in the vicinity of the international tourist spot of Katra, rendering them jobless and homeless. They had prayed the court for enhancement in the compensation.
Reasi district judge YP Kotwal, after hearing advocate Ved Raj Sharma, counsel for land owners, enhanced the compensation to Rs 1 lakh per kanal for cultivable land and Rs 50,000 per kanal for non-cultivable land. The court also awarded 15% 'jabrana' on the excess amount of compensation and 6% interest per annum on the consolidated amount of market rate from the date of notification in 2000 till the payment is made. It also imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the collector. Advocate Gagan Bansotra and public prosecutor appeared for respondents Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University and collector.