STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 6 November
Power Grid authority here allegedly has been applying haphazard method in deciding ‘compensation’ to landowners for using land and damaging its position after erection of high transmission towers in the Jalpaiguri-Siliguri region.
A landowner identified as Shanti Devi Memorial Trust (SDMT) in Siliguri has been fighting Power Grid authority since
April 2012 seeking clarification about the proper
system of assessment for compensation of a plot of land where a tower is
erected for transmission of 800 KV power at a time when latter is occupying land under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885.
In response to the complaint lodged by SDMT, the Power Grid Corporation of Indian Limited informed the general secretary of
the Trust, Mr Ram Chandra Agarwal that transmission line from Assam to Agra was  under progress as
per direction of Union
ministry of power.
The AGM, Power Grid, Mr G C Dhal had also informed him  that the
corporation had been authorised to exercise the power vested in Indian Telegraph Act and it was not possible to remove or shift the alignment because more than 90 per cent foundation has been completed in the entire line.
Notably, the SDMT yesterday served another appeal to the general manager of Power Grid on the matter protesting against alleged forceful implanting of tower on its land and copy forward to the authorities concerned, including the Darjeeling district magistrate.
Interestingly, Power Grid allegedly bulldozed a
structure of the land owner and started constructing foundation of the tower today.
The SDMT officials had claimed full compensation based on Part-III of Indian Telegraph Act 1885 under Section 10(d) in respect of property damage.
The SDMT had planned to set up a residential school there.
A senior SDMT official, Dr SS Agarwal, said: “The Power Grid officials are always trying to evade Section 10(d) of the Indian Telegraph Act.”
The SDMT legal advisor, Mr Suresh Mitruka, said: “When we have failed to prevent the Power Grid officials from forcefully grabbing the land, how will the poor and common people be able to protect their lands. The Indian Telegraph Act should be amended for occupying valuable lands.”
In a general notice to several landowners, the Power Grid informed landowners that they would provide ‘salvage value’ for the damage of trees and crops.
Interestingly, a nearby plot owner, where the dispute is going on, has received a decent amount of compensation which was estimated at Rs 9 lakh and the payment has been made May and July 2013, the SDMT officials claimed.
The chief manager, Power Grid, Mr S Kumar, said: “They are desperately preventing us from doing the job. We have approached landowners several times to come to the negotiation table to discuss about salvage value. Where there is no question of land acquisition there is no provision to compensate the landowners.”