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PMK welcomes TN govt decision to return land acquired for power project

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Chennai, June 10 (Ajit Weekly News) Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder and senior leader Dr S. Ramadoss has welcomed the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to return the 8,000 acres of land at Jayakondam and 12 villages at Aliyur district Udayarpalayam taluk.

The land was acquired ten years ago for an integrated lignite mining-cum power project. Government had to return the land as the project was found unviable and did not materialise after the landowners won a court case seeking higher compensation for the acquired land.

Dr Ramadoss, in a statement, said: “This is a victory for the PMK as a political party as we were fighting for higher compensation for land owners for the past 20 years”. He also said that the PMK has been at the forefront of this and wanted the government either to return the land or pay a higher compensation as ordered by the court.

The government issued an order a few days before stating that the land would be returned to the owners and that they could keep the compensation of Rs 35,000 per acre paid by the Land Acquisition Officer(LAO).

Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu Industries department C.S. Krishnan had in an order said that after careful examination by the Ariyalur district collector, executive director of Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO), and Commissioner of Land Administration, the government decided not to go ahead with the project and to return the land to the owners.

The Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), that was piloting the power project at Jaykondam, also dropped the project as it found that it was economically not viable.

Notably, the Tamil Nadu government had acquired around 8,000 acres of land paying a compensation of Rs 35,000 per acre of land and several land owners filed cases in court unhappy over the meager compensation amount.

A special court was constituted by the Madras High Court that disposed of 70 per cent of the cases and directed the authorities to enhance the compensation to Rs 15 lakh per acre which was 43 times more than the value of the compensation provided by the Land acquisition authority (LAO).

The Tamil Nadu government appealed against this and the Madras High Court constituted a committee to look into the matter and a sub-committee was formed to have talks with the land owners. The subcommittee decided to increase the compensation by 23 times the value provided by the LAO and TIDCO was directed to settle the compensation which was around 45.40 crore.

TIDCO conducted a feasibility study and decided to drop the project as it was not economically viable and feasible.

Dr Ramadoss said that the government must either provide decent compensation to the land owners according to the market value or return the land to the owners in the case of other properties that were acquired by the state government in Villupuram and Ariyalur districts.

–Ajit Weekly News
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