HC scraps acquisition of plot for Metro

The Calcutta High Court directed the Land Acquisition Collector, Kolkata, to restore the tenants who were evicted from their premises at B B Ganguly Street for the work of the East-West Metro Rail project, within two weeks.

Delivering the order, Justice Joytirmoy Bhattacharya also said that the government would be liable to pay damages by way of rent compensation at the market rate for such unauthorised and unlawful occupation of the land.

Central Calcutta Citizen Welfare Association, a registered association of the tenants of various premises at B B Ganguly street, challenged the land acquisition process initiated by the state government for the Metro project stretching from Salt Lake Sector V to Howrah Maidan.

The notification under Land Acquisition Act 1894 (LA Act) was published in 2009 for the acquiring of land at B B Ganguly street.

Then, in November 2011, a compensation award of Rs 1.9 lakh was declared for the tenants of 11 residential houses on B B Ganguly street, which were to be taken for the Metro project. The collector took possession over those premises on January 24 this year.

The organisation challenged the procedure such as adopted by the collector for acquisition of land, implemented by the transport department.

Justice Bhattacharya held that the award under Section 11A should have been published along with the notification under Section 6 two years back. The entire land acquisition proceeding concerning those properties stood lapsed. Thus, the collector would have to return the possession to the tenants within two weeks from the date of order, the high court said.

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