Farmers whose agricultural land is acquired for laying high-tension power transmission lines may no longer have to suffer in silence because of high-handedness of the power transmission companies.
The tribunal recently made it mandatory for power firms to seek permission from farmers and landowners before erecting huge towers; power firms will also have to pay lease rent and compensation against loss of crop production.
The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) passed directives to this effect on September 7 while hearing a case between the state transmission company, Mahatransco, and a Nagpur-based farmer Vikram Setiya.
Setiya had objected to the company’s insistence on laying the 400 KV line between Koradi and Kaparkheda on his land and that too without his consent.
Mahatransco said that it would lay down the transmission line using the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, under section 164. When Setiya moved the Maharashtra State Electricity Commission, it decided in his favour; Mahatransco appealed against this order.
Tribunal chairperson justice M Karpaga Vinayagam and technical member VJ Talwar dismissed the appeal and upheld the regulator’s directive that the consent of a landowner/farmer must be taken for constructing lines and adequate compensation must also be handed over to the aggrieved party.
President of the state power consumers’ federation Pratap Hogade told HT that the decision would be of immense help to farmers. “Earlier, farmers would get a meagre compensation for their land but now farmers will get lease rent as well as compensation for the entire land that is rendered useless for farming purposes.”
Hogade said that in several places high-tension power lines were forcefully constructed on the non-agricultural lands, which were earmarked for residential or commercial purposes.
“Landowners and farmers incurred huge losses because people are often not comfortable with power lines running over their houses.” The tribunal order said that power company, in consultation with the state, can decide on the compensation package.