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CMDA cries foul over land rate, sues state

In a rare case, the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has dragged the state government to Calcutta High Court on Monday. In its petition, the CMDA alleged that the government had kept the agency in the dark while settling the amount of compensation for persons whose land was acquired by it for a project in Sodepur, on the northern fringes of the city.

The agency claimed that the government did not have the right to fix the rate of compensation, as the land was not directly acquired by it but by the CMDA, admittedly a government wing. “The government has paid a higher rate to the former owners of the land,” the department said, adding that the cost of the project would shoot up because of the government’s error.

The CMDA had acquired a vast tract in Sodepur for constructing a sewer-treatment plant, a constituent of the Ganga Action Plan. Accordingly, it had also fixed the amount of compensation to be paid to the persons from whom the land was acquired. Minu Devi Singh, owner of a part of the land, and six others had filed a case against the state government, demanding a higher rate of compensation.

The district land and land reforms wing sent the matter to the Barasat additional district judge’s court for a settlement. The third additional district judge of the court upheld the petitioner’s plea, passing a directive to the government to pay a higher rate of compensation. The CMDA, however, alleged that the state had fixed the compensation rate without consulting it, resulting in certain complications. It also wanted to know whether the government could fix the rate of compensation without taking the agency into confidence.

B.K. Singh, counsel for the land-owners, said on Monday that the CMDA case would delay the compensation to his clients. “The additional district judge of Barasat has ordered that the bungalow of the district magistrate of North 24-Parganas be attached if the payments are not made,” Singh added.

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