The Punjab and Haryana high court has increased the compensation by up to 10 times for the land acquired for the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail line. The land acquisition was carried out between 1999 and 2002.
The land owners in Kambala and Kambali villages of SAS Nagar will get a compensation at a rate of Rs 1.76 crore per acre instead of Rs 17 lakh decided by a lower court. All the landowners will be entitled to 50% severance charges, the court ruled.
Earlier, the reference court had awarded severance charges of between 20% and 50% and that too to a few landowners. Villagers, small portions of whose land was acquired and who were not a party before any court, will also be entitled to new compensation and severance charges. The bench of justice Rameshwar Singh Malik disposed of over 700 appeals filed against the lower court orders. Unhappy over the lower court order, Northern Railways as well as the affected families had challenged the award.
The turning point in the case was the petitioners’ producing a sale deed showing a shop-cum-office of 152 square yards in Phase 9, SAS Nagar, auctioned for Rs 13.3 lakh (Rs 4.26 crore per acre). The court held that the area was adjoining Kambala and Kambali, effected a 60% cut on the market price, and awarded compensation of Rs 1.70 crore per acre to the affected families.
Chilla village landowners will get a compensation of Rs 1.36 crore per acre against Rs 17 lakh. Landowners of Manauli will get Rs 1.22 crore per acre against Rs 13 lakh per acre and those of Raipur Khurd will get Rs 1.10 crore per acre against 19 lakh, awarded by the lower court.
Justifying the increase in the award, the high court bench observed that the land acquired was close to Chandigarh or towns such as SAS Nagar, Kharar or Morinda, where land prices would soar in view of the “immense potentiality”.