Nagpur: Farmers from Umrer have knocked the doors of Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court against erection of power transmission lines right in the middle of their fertile fields. According to petitioner-farmers, the act of Maharashtra State Transmission Company Limited and Adani Powers Maharashtra of carrying out works of transmission lines was done without obtaining consent of the landowner, and local authority.
A division bench consisting of Justice Ravi Deshpande and Justice Vinay Joshi after a brief motion hearing issued notice Union Ministry of Power, Industries and Energy Department, Mahatransco, Power Grid Corporation, Adani Power Maharashtra Ltd and directed them to file reply within eight weeks. The petition has been filed by Sumathi Nirmala Waman Ghode and 23 other farmers along with Shankar Sampat Punwatkar from village Umrer. The petitioners have challenged the arbitrary and illegal construction of transmission lines and towers on their land violating their fundamental rights, without any compensation to them.
The petitioners have challenged the Works of Licensing Rules 2012 framed by Maharashtra Government under section 67 (2) of Indian Electricity Act 2003 and claimed that the same are inconsistent with the statute. Neither the consent was obtained, nor any pre-emptive notice was given to the landowners before carrying out the works. There is no provision in the rules about mode, procedure and manner of consideration of objections of the landowners in pursuance to the notice to be given. The rules never considered the issue of giving proper hearing to landowners in the matter of “right of way” and in giving compensation for loss of crops as well as land cost and the amount of rent.
The petitioner also questioned the Government Resolution (GR) issued on May 31, 2017 and claimed that it fail to provide monthly rent as a compensation to the landowners towards construction of transmission tower unlike mobile tower. The GR does not also give transfer of development right to the land owners nor it gives market rate of the land as per ready reckoner. The petitioners claimed that the State government is executing works of transmission lines without acquiring their fertile land and without giving adequate compensation to the landowners which is the mandate of section 67 (2) of Electricity Act.
The petitioners have also challenged the order passed by the District Collector while granting permission to erect transmission towers in the farm fields of poor farmers to construct 220 KV DC transmission line from Kalmeshwar to Warud without giving hearing to the landowners. According to the petitioners the district collector has failed in his duties to fix compensation of land and loss of crops.
The petitioners have also challenged the illegal construction of towers and lines of 400 KV DC Tiroda to Warora Transmission line by Adani Power and 400 KV-DC Raipur to Wardha Transmission line as the same is not carried out in accordance with Rule 94 of CERC Transmission Rules. The petitioners have alleged that the route of the transmission lines was neither approved by the MERC nor checked by the District Magistrate and the mandatory check survey, detailed survey was not at all conducted. Adv. Tushar Mandlekar appeared for petitioners. Adv. Munshi (Union), Adv. Shishir Uke (State), Adv. Sachin Zoting (MSETCL) represented the respondents.