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Aug 03, 2012, 04.08 PM IST
Power Grid Corporation of india (PGCIL) plans to propose to the Union Cabinet an amendment to a clause in the archaic Indian Telegraph Act 1885—which if implemented will help the company in acquiring land across states for its projects, a board member told moneycontrol.com.
Power Grid Corporation of india (PGCIL) plans to propose to the Union Cabinet an amendment to a clause in the archaic Indian Telegraph Act 1885---which if implemented will help the company in acquiring land across states for its projects, a board member told moneycontrol.com.
The company is unable to spend its planned Rs 6,000 crore capex for constructing intra-state transmission lines, as it has been facing hurdles in acquiring land.
Many landowners are refusing to sell their land at any price, while many others are asking for a price way above what the company is willing to pay them.
An e-mail query to the company on this development remained unanswered.
"Section 16 of the Act does not mention anything about the compensation to be offered in case the land is to be acquired by a public sector undertaking. Also, the local authorities have the powers to fix the compensation, which again may not be acceptable to the acquirer," said the PGCIL board member, who did not wish to be quoted.
The Telegraph Act was conceived when electricity was initially introduced in the country and transmission lines were mainly pole structures, requiring little area. Today with increase in transmission voltage, the requirement of land for tower footing has increased substantially.
The member, without divulging what amendments exactly PGCIL is looking at, said that new provisions in the Act should help strike balance between the seller and buyer of land.
There have been quite a few cases wherein the company had problems in acquiring land. Over the past 5-6 years, PGCIL has lost a few legal cases on land acquisition. Earlier this year, the company received bad press for allegedly underpaying farmers from Chadoora district in central Kashmir for their land, as the price offered was based on 2007 valuations.
According to details provided by the power ministry, PGCIL has spent around Rs 150 crore towards land acquisition in the last three years.
The urgency for amendments can be gauged from the fact that the owner of the land has the right to not give up land if he has a valid reason and this has become a cause of worry for PGCIL which will be spending Rs 10,000 crore over the next three financial years for setting up intra-state transmission lines. For this, the state-run utility has initiated talks for land acquisition in Bihar, Odisha. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
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