The government had acquired land from farmers in the late 1990s for the Thebi dam and in 1991 for Vadiya dam. Some farmers of Vadiya filed land reference cases in 2001 seeking higher compensation for their land.
A court in Gujarat’s Amreli attached three cars and furniture items of the office of the executive engineer of the state irrigation department in Amreli on Thursday after the state government, despite court orders, did not pay dues to nine farmers whose land was acquired for the Thebi and Vadiya dam projects in that district in the 1990s. A bailiff, accompanied by affected farmers, executed warrants issued by the court of principal senior civil judge Kiran Dohare in nine cases. The attached cars and furniture, including the main table, of the office of the executive engineer (EE) were officially put in custody of the court.
Hemant Patel, in-charge executive engineer of the irrigation department in Amreli, told The Indian Express that the court warrants were “erroneous” and that the government would appeal against them. “We are pleased that the court has finally used its long arm against the government. The government had not paid compensation due to my client despite a court order and repeated warnings of such action. We hope this attachment of assets will open the eyes of the government and it will comply with the order to pay higher compensation to farmers with interest,” Jitendra Senjaliya, advocate for the heirs of late farmer Jeram Kathiriya, told The Indian Express.
According to Senjaliya, the irrigation department had acquired around 4.74 bigha (75.35 gunthas) land from Kathiriya for the Thebi dam project. However, the department paid him compensation for around 2.5 bigha (35.35 gunthas).
“The court ordered the government to pay compensation to the farmer. But the government did not comply. The farmer moved the Amreli court again in 2011. Since then, the court issued repeated directives to clear dues, but the government was unmoved. The latest warrant for recovery of more than Rs 10 lakh due to Kathiriya was issued three months ago,” the advocate said.
The government had acquired land from farmers in the late 1990s for the Thebi dam and in 1991 for Vadiya dam. Some farmers of Vadiya filed land reference cases in 2001 seeking higher compensation for their land. The Amreli court ruled in favour of the farmers, but the government appealed in the Gujarat High Court and subsequently in the Supreme Court unsuccessfully, said Bhimji Makwana, advocate of eight farmers of Vadiya on whose plea the court attached two cars and some furniture of the EE’s office. The third car was attached following the warrant in Kathiriya’s case.
A Vadodara civil court had issued a similar order last month. It had issued a distress warrant against Vadodara Municipal Corporation and Special Land Acquisition office and attached property worth Rs 1,16,47,608, including the office chairs and cars of VMC commissioner, deputy commissioner, mayor, deputy mayor and other officers, after the civic body failed to compensate a farmer whose land was acquired in 1976.
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