Pune: The district court recently ruled in favour of a farmer and directed the State government agencies to pay him about Rs 10 lakh compensation (including interest) for the fruit-bearing trees on his land which was acquired from the Temghar dam project in the 1990s.
Zilu Bhagu Bavdhane, a resident of Lawarde village in Mulshi taluka, has filed the claim against special land acquisition officer (SLAO), Pune, Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation and the Pune district collector.
The government had acquired various lands of village Lawarde, for Temghar project. The notification under section 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on 21.11.1996 and the award under section 11 of the Act came to be passed on 31.12.1999. In the said acquisition proceeding Bavdhane’s land from survey no. 305 was acquired. For the trees on the land, he was offered compensation of Rs 15,866.
Being dissatisfied with the amount of compensation, he filed an application for enhancement of compensation. According to Bavdhane, on his land, there were five Alphonso mango trees, one Jackfruit tree, three Jambhul trees and 10 Karvand trees.
The SLAO didn’t value the trees as per its growth etc. and awarded less compensation. “For the trees on the acquired land I was entitled to get total compensation of Rs 2.07 lakh and after deducting the amount already awarded, I must get enhanced compensation of Rs 1.91 lakh along with all statutory benefits.”
The government agencies denied the claim made by Bavdhane.
“The claim is vague and excessive. The claimant (Bavdhane) has filed a hypothetical claim. The compensation awarded is just, and proper,” the government submitted.
District judge Anirudha Thitte, while giving reasons for price of mango, observed, “it is a common experience that when Alphonso mango first hits the market it gets a price more than Rs 2,000 per dozen, but at the peak of the season, the price goes down to Rs 100 per dozen in the wholesale market. The average price, by my own experience in the retail market last year was Rs 130 to Rs 180 per dozen. But, if we adopt the method of averaging on the basis of maximum and minimum price then the average price comes to Rs 1,050/(2000+100 =2100/ 2= 1050) per dozen which is very high. The expert fixed the price of Alphonso mango at Rs 45 per kg and price of country mango at Rs 25 per kg. But, generally, the price of Alphonso mango is more than double of the price of country mango. Even, the expert did some guesswork while fixing the price of mango. I hold that at relevant time i.e. at the time of notification the price of Alphonso mango in a wholesale market like APMC, Pune was Rs 40 per kg, and the price of country mango was Rs 20 per kg. The price of tree needs to be calculated based on the annual yield per tree multiplied by cost of fruit and then there shall be 10% deduction towards the cost of cultivation and additional 10% deduction towards the cost of transportation etc. Then the price has to be multiplied by the multiplier as per Miram table based on future life of tree.”
The court held that Bavdhane is entitled to get Rs 1.63 lakh as a compensation for the fruit-bearing trees standing in the acquired land and after deducting the amount of Rs 15,865 already awarded by SLAO, enhanced compensation payable comes to Rs 1.47 lakh.
On the said amount the claimants are entitled to receive interest at the rate 12 % per annum from the date of publication of notification i.e. from 21.11.1996 till the date of award i.e. 31.12.1999. “The opponents shall further pay to the claimant some of 30 % on the above-referred amount of compensation as a solatium under the Act. The opponents shall pay interest to the claimant on the above aggregate amount at 9% per annum interest from the date of possession i.e. 03.07.1998 to 02.07.1999 and thereafter at the rate of 15 % per annum till realisation of the entire amount,” the order states.