'Illegal Acquisition, No Compensation': PIL In Calcutta HC Against Adani Power's Construction Of High-Tension Power Lines In Farakka
The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday asked petitioners who have moved a Public Interest Litigation petition (PIL) plea challenging the alleged illegal acquisition of farmland at Murshidabad district’s Farakka by the Adani Group to set up power transmission lines to supply power to Bangladesh through Bengal, to serve copies of their petition to all respondents.
The high-tension electricity lines were being set up there by the Adani Group-owned power plant as part of a project stretching from Jharkhand’s Godda district to Bangladesh, as mandated by a bilateral trade agreement.
The petitioners — Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) and 38 farmers of the Dadontala village of Murshidabad have contended that the high voltage power lines are being constructed over the mango and litchi orchards of the petitioners in a clandestine manner and that neither any consultation process nor any discussion for adequate compensation has taken place as mandated under the Electricity Act, 2003, the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the West Bengal Trees (Protection and Conservation in Non-Forest Areas) Act, 2006.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj directed the petitioners on Tuesday to serve a copy of the petition on the respondents within 3 days and accordingly listed the matter for further hearing on February 20.
“Learned counsel for the respondent nos.10 and 11 has submitted that though these respondents are not served but he is appearing on instructions, therefore he may be supplied a copy of the petition with all enclosures. Let the same be supplied by learned counsel for the petitioners within three days”, the order reads.
Alleging that construction of such high voltage power transmission lines in an unlawful manner would severely affect the lives and livelihood of the petitioners, the plea states,
"..owing to the chaotic and patently illegal and extra-legal manner in which the said high tension lines are constructed, without any consultative process with the affected families over whose land the said lines run, there is a serious apprehension in the mind of the affected families that their life and livelihood will be at stake, and their lives and limbs will be in great danger from the high voltage transmission lines".
The petitioners have further submitted that a massively dangerous high-voltage transmission line over the land of the petitioners, without adhering to due process is potentially reckless and an irresponsible act that needs to be prevented at any cost until all statute-mandated regulations are adhered to.
The petition also notes that although an MOU has been signed between the Bangladesh government and Adani Power Limited it is unclear if any such similar agreement has been entered into by the West Bengal government with Adani Power Limited.
Accordingly, the petition prays for an interim order to halt all ongoing construction for the establishment of such high-voltage power transmission lines.
The petitioners are represented by advocates Jhuma Sen and Kaushik Gupta.
Case Title: Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and Ors v. State of West Bengal
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