North District Court directs NHPC to compensate affected landowners by 30 Apr

Mangan, 29 Mar:

District Court [North] today directed National Hydro-electric Power Corporation [NHPC] Teesta Stage V to provide compensation amounting to Rs 6,79,78,277 to the affected land owners by 30 April. The 12% interest on the compensation, however, has been waived.

Compensation for damaged houses, lands and properties of Lum/Gor/Sangtok Gram Panchayat Unit of Dzongu, North Sikkim due to the reservoir on the right and left banks has long been delayed.

Earlier on 28 Feb, the North District Administration had summoned NHPC and given 15 days time for payment of compensation. Fourteen affected land owners had sought the intervention of the District Administration.

During the hearing held today, NHPC Stage V represented by Chief Engineer in-Charge stated that the matter has been taken up with the higher authorities of NHPC and will be soon placed before the Board of Directors of NHPC.

The Chief Engineer In-Charge also stated that the payment is very likely to be cleared within the month of April as the matter is vigorously pursued.

Further, the Chief Engineer In-Charge said that the due to the delay in procedures, the compensation amount could not be paid in time. He further requested that the additional payments of 12% interest may be kindly waived off to avoid further delay in payment.

The land owners of the representatives stated that the compensation amount has been due for a long time and they have expressed dissatisfaction over the delay.

However, they agreed to the terms saying that since they believe in assurances given by the Chief Engineer In-Charge, they are ready to wait till 30 Apr pending which they want District Administration to initiate action to safeguard their property from further damages due to pondage of Teesta Stage V.

The landowners have also agreed to waive off the 12% interest provided that the compensation is given by 30 Apr. In case the payment is not made within the stipulated time they have asked District Administration to direct NHPC to pay as per the Land Acquisition Act and charge the interest on the compensation.

After hearing both the parties the Court directed the NHPC Stage V pay the land compensation amounting to Rs 6,79,78,277 by 30 Apr.

In case of failure to pay within the above stipulated date, all necessary steps to safeguard further damages of the land will be initiated by the District Administration.

In case of failure of NHPC to pay within the stipulated date the interest as per the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 will be charged and NHPC will make good of the damages caused to the properties of the public, the court said.

In order to prevent further damages of the properties of the people and to safeguard the residents living in the properties any pondage of water will be stopped from 01 May. NHPC will not cause any further damage to the properties in case of non-payment of compensation. The matter is listed for 30 Apr, 2018.