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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Compensation to border farmers: HC contempt notice to secretary

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 17, 2014
First Published: 21:57 IST(17/7/2014) | Last Updated: 07:42 IST(18/7/2014)

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday issued notice to Punjab special secretary (revenue) SS Khara to ask why contempt proceedings be not initiated against him for not submitting correct information to the court about compensation to the farmers whose cultivable land is in the area of security fence on the international border with Pakistan.

The orders came when financial commissioner (revenue) NS Kang accepted in an affidavit that in Amritsar, Pathankot and Tarn Taran, the district treasuries had not release compensation to the eligible farmers till March, whereas in the earlier hearing, it was submitted that the payment till March had been made to all farmers.

Kang also submitted that the matter now had reached the finance department for the early release of funds, and the dealing assistant in his office responsible for not bringing the matter to the notice of senior officers had been asked to explain and face an inquiry.

The court observed that the state authorities had submitted different statements on different dates.

In the remaining three districts (Ferozepur, Fazilka and Gurdaspur), of the sanctioned `4.90 crore for compensation, `2.77 crore had been disbursed and the rest was in the process of it, Kang submitted. The senior IAS officer submitted further that on March 14, the high court had ordered payment to the farmers at the rate of `10,000 per acre from January 1, so a policy draft in this regard was prepared and sent to the finance department on June 21 for comments before it was put up before the council of ministers.

The development came during the resumed hearing of a public-interest petition by The Punjab Border Kisan Welfare Society seeking directions to the state government to acquire their 34,000-acre land for adequate compensation. They prayed that the barbed-wire fence of 40 to 80-foot width installed about 500 metres from the Line of Actual Control along the Pakistan border in Punjab in the year 1985-86 be removed so that they were able to cultivate their land.

The next hearing is on July 21.

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