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Order to return East-West land

The high court on Tuesday directed the state government to return the properties it had acquired from 90 families in Bowbazar for East-West Metro but the project will not be affected since the alignment of the tracks has been changed.

Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya ordered the state authorities to return the properties of the petitioner families within two weeks of communication of his order, terming the process of declaring compensation after acquiring the properties “wrong”.

The state lawyer said later the government would challenge the ruling in court, hence a protracted legal battle is likely but it too would not have any bearing on the East-West Metro project, which will connect Sector V in Salt Lake with Howrah.

According to the original plan, the Garia-Dum Dum and East-West Metro routes were to converge at Bowbazar. The government had hence acquired land and buildings from the 90 families.

In June, the project authorities had decided to avoid Bowbazar by laying the tracks along Laldighi, Esplanade and Nirmal Chunder Street following a meeting between officials of the state and central governments and the funding agency.

The petitioners’ lawyer, Swadesh Bhunia, had submitted in court a notification dated November 11, 2009, published by the state transport department, stating that land would be acquired for the East-West Metro project under Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

“Compensation of Rs 1,90,000 for each family was announced by the state on November 15, 2011. According to provisions laid down by the 1894 act, the amount of compensation has to be announced within two years of publishing the notification, which the state had failed to do by four days,” said the petitioners’ advocate.