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HC has not set aside Dadri land acquisition: Anil

Source: PTI
December 04, 2009 19:21 IST
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Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Power Ltd on Friday claimed that the Allahabad High Court has not set aside land acquisition for its proposed gas-fired power plant at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh.

The company has all approvals needed for the project, RPL CEO J P Chalasani said in a conference call.

Chalasani, who did not take questions, said RPL was fully committed to the implementation of the power plant at an investment of over Rs 25,000 crore (Rs 250 billion).

"We are reviewing the judgement, it is clear that land acquisition for the Dadri project has not been set aside," he said. "The state government has been directed by the court to follow certain procedures in the land acquisition process."

The court, which quashed the emergency powers invoked by the state for land acquisition, also asked the state to invite objections from land owners.

"As per the judgement, the land owners who wish to raise objections to the acquisition of their land (for the project) are required to refund the compensation received by them and thereafter the government will decide on their objections," he said. "We are confident that the Uttar Pradesh government will expeditiously take requisite steps of land acquisition at the earliest to enable the implementation of the project."

Chalasani accused unnamed corporate rivals of "distorting the scope and effect of the judgement" and spreading "malicious and false information through their known PR agencies."

Earlier during the day, the Allahabad High Court quashed UP government's notification for use of emergency powers to buy land for Anil Ambani group firm's Dadri power project, side-stepping a provision for inviting objections from land owners.

The report said the state government would now have to invite objections from farmers, who have the option of either returning the money to reclaim the land or forfeit any claim.

The agitating farmers and RNRL gave different interpretations of the order, with Anil Ambani group official J P Chalsani contending that land acquisition for Dadri project has not been set aside as claimed by the other side.

Passing the order, a Division Bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhusan and Justice Sudhir Aggrawala said that all "subsequent proceedings consequent to the notification of February 11, 2004, including the notification under Section 6 of June 25, 2004 are quashed".

The 7,800 MW project, land for which was acquired by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in 2004, has become a bone of contention between the Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil, who are involved in a bitter legal battle in the Supreme Court over supply of natural gas.

"The collector shall issue notice in newspapers having wide circulation by not giving less than 30 days' period for filing of objections", the court said.

The court held that notification dated February 11, 2004 is "partly quashed" since it invoked emergency powers under Section 17(1) and 17(4) of the Land Acquisition Act meant for public purpose.

Besides, the state, which acquired over 2,000 acres of land, had bypassed Section 5A, which provides for inviting objections from the land owners.

"The petitioners (land owners) are liable to refund the compensation received from the respondents", the court said.

"However, it will be open to those who have no objection to the acquisition to indicate so and in that event they may seek exemption from the Collector from refunding the compensation", the court added.

The court also made clear that the Collector (of Gautam Buddh Nagar, where the Dadri village is situated) shall take into account only objections of those who have returned the money.

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