The Northern Railways may lose the already attached Swarna Shatabdi Express that runs between Amritsar and New Delhi for not compensating a farmer against his land acquired in 2007 for constructing the Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail line. The train was attached by a local court here a couple of days back.
In the resumed hearing on Saturday, the court additional district and sessions judge Jaspal Verma gave three weeks to the railways to pay the compensation (Rs1.03 crore) to the farmer. Till then the train will remain court’s property. The next hearing is on April 7.
Advocate Rakesh Gandhi, who is representing farmer Sampuran Singh, moved an application in the court seeking auction of the Swarna Shatabdi for the recovery of the money that the railways failed to pay to his client. The court kept the decision on auction of the train pending till the next hearing.
On the other hand, the railways moved an application seeking three week’s time for paying the farmer and requested the court to stay the operation of the attachment of the train for three weeks. Heated arguments were exchanged in the court when the railway officials sought more time to pay Rs 1.03 crore to the farmer.
On Wednesday, the court had ordered attachement of the Swarna Shatabdi Express as the railways failed to comply with the court’s order issued in 2015 to clear the dues. It also ordered attachment of the office of the station master.
Section engineer Pradeep Kumar had then got the train released on ‘superdari’ from the court official at the railway station.
The case goes back to acquisition of land for the Ludhiana-Chandigarh railway line in 2007. The compensation was enhanced by court from Rs 25 lakh an acre to Rs 50 lakh; and Sampuran was entitled to be paid Rs 1.47 crore. But the railways paid only Rs 42 lakh to him. While the original claim petition was filed in 2012, the court ordered the railways to pay the remaining amount to him in January 2015.