Pune: To avoid paying 15 per cent interest on compensation amount for land acquisitions, the State government has ordered all district collectors and land acquisition officers to settle cases in Lok Adalats and ensure that the settlement amount is paid within six months.
The government has also threatened to take action against erring officials as per the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005. The Revenue Department issued a government resolution in this regard on Tuesday.
Officials said that several courts have ordered payment of enhanced compensation amount, plus interest up to 15 per cent, thus burdening the exchequer. According to the government order, in many cases, people don't get compensation on time and then drag the government to court, where cases go on for years and then the government has to pay a huge amount. "To avoid this, officials must go for mediation at the Lok Adalat and settle the cases," the resolution states.
Last month, the Aurangabad bench of the Mumbai High Court had come down heavily on the government for not paying compensation on time to people.
In February, Sakal Times had reported how 18 years after land was acquired for the second phase of the world renowned Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park in Hinjawadi, the court ordered the government to pay 12 villagers of Marunje an enhanced compensation of about Rs 7 crore. Earlier, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) had given them compensation, mostly at a rate for uncultivable land (pot kharaba), but the court held that the land was acquired for industrial purposes and hence the enhanced compensation.
In another case recently, the district court ruled in favour of a farmer and directed State government agencies to pay about Rs 10 lakh compensation (including interest) for fruit-bearing trees on his land, which was acquired for the Temghar dam project in the 1990s.