DADRI, KARCHHANA PLANTS Farmers' inability to return compensation may help in revival of the two projects
This is because the farmers whose land had been acquired for the purpose are now unable to return the compensation to the developers to reclaim their land from the private companies. They seem to have frittered away the compensation money. And this is what raises the developers' hope to get legal relief for going ahead with setting up the proposed plants.
In 2004, the then Samajwadi Party (SP) government had invoked the emergency clause to acquire 2,250 acres of land for the 7,400 MW gas-based plant that had been proposed to be set up by Anil Ambani's Reliance Energy Ltd at Dadri in Ghaziabad district (now in Hapur).
However, the Allahabad high court in 2009 quashed the urgency clause, asking the state government to return the land to farmers if they paid back the compensation that they had already taken from the developer.
In a similar order in April 2012, the same court cancelled the urgency clause under which the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government had acquired 416 hectares of land to enable the JP Associates to set up a 1,380 MW thermal plant at Karchhana. In this case also, the court gave farmers the option of reclaiming their land and getting the same registered in their name provided they returned the compensation to the developer.
However, farmers have not come forward to reclaim their land because they are probably not able to return the compensation for one reason or the other.
Of the 1,864 farmers who were given compensation in lieu of their land, not one has yet shown any interest in taking his land back.
“No farmer has applied for reclaiming his land so far,” the sub-divisional magistrate, Karchhana tehsil, told the Hindustan Times.
Similarly, of 3,000 farmers whose land had been acquired for the REL’s gas-based plant at Dadri, only a few have been able to return the compensation to Reliance to get their land back.
“Not more than 150 farmers have opted for reclaiming their land,” a senior official in the energy department disclosed. Sources said the state government was preparing to put all these facts before the Supreme Court in the case of the Dadri project and the Allahabad high court in the matter of the Karchhana plant. Reliance had challenged the high court order in the apex court. “We will go to the respective courts with the facts and seek their directions as what to do when farmers are not ready to return the compensation to take their land back,” another official in the energy department disclosed.
Sources said depending on the court stand, the government might revive both the projects, especially the ambitious Dadri one which the then Mulayam Singh government had claimed would end the state's power crisis in three years.