It has been 10 years ever since 45 year old Sampuran Singh, a farmer based in Katana village in Ludhiana has been involved in a bitter and prolonged legal battle with the Northern Railways over compensation awarded to him for land acquisition. With the court coming down heavily on Northern Railways yesterday for not paying him the enhanced compensation amount to the farmer and ordering attachment of the Swarna Shatabdi, the aggrieved farmer, who had lost all hope, is now optimistic that he will finally get the amount.
Yesterday, Sampuran Singh became the temporary owner of the premier train of Northern Railways- the Swaran Shatabdi- for precisely five minutes as it had arrived at the Ludhiana Railway Station –courtesy the court order to attach the train.
The court came down heavily on the Northern Railways for failing to abide by its orders passed in January 2015 directing them to pay Rs 1.05 crores to the agriculturist towards land acquisition. Besides the evening Shatabdi, the court also ordered attachment of office room of overall incharge/station master of the Ludhiana railway station. The Swarna Sharabdi Express was later released on superdari implying that it now the property of the court.
“After attending umpteen court hearings over the last ten years, it finally seems that my efforts have borne fruit as the court pronounced to attach the Swarna Shatabdi. However, all I want now is my compensation amount so that I can get rid of the having to attend court hearings,” he said.
The land measuring 5.5 bighas was acquired by the Railways in 2007 for laying the Ludhiana Chandigarh Railway line. Sampuran used to cultivate wheat on that land.
“My land was taken away from me and they paid me just 42 lakhs in all. On the other hand, the same amount of land in the neighbouring village of Barwala was acquired at a higher price. The Railways had no explanation for this,” he said.
“The place where the Railway line has been constructed is now elevated and while my land has been divided into two, one part of the land is totally inaccessible,” he said.
As per the execution petition filed by Sampuran Singh, the Northern Railways failed to pay compensation amount of Rs 1.05 crores to him towards land acquired for laying of Ludhiana Chandigarh Railway Line in 2007. The compensation amount was enhanced by court from Rs 25 lakhs to Rs 50 lakhs per acre but the railways failed to pay the amount.
Out of the total 1.47 crores that was due, the Railways had paid 42 lakhs but the remaining Rs 1.05 crores is still remaining. While the claim petition was filed in 2012, the Court had ordered the railways to pay the compensation amount to the petitioner in January 2015. As the amount was not paid, an execution petition was filed.