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Ludhiana farmer gets Swarn Shatabdi as compensation for land acquired by railways

  • Sampuran Singh, a 45-year-old farmer from Ludhiana, moved to court seeking compensation for his land acquired by Northern Railways. However, in a surprising turn of events, he became the owner of a Swarn Shatabdi train that runs between Amritsar and Delhi.

    In an unprecedented order, the court of additional district and sessions judge Jaspal Verma attached the train (number 12030) at the Ludhiana station, technically giving it to aggrieved farmer as the Northern Railways failed to comply with the court’s order passed in 2015 to provide him with an enhanced compensation of Rs 1.05 crore. It also ordered attachment of the office of the station master.

    As a result, the train is now the property of the decree-holder Sampuran Singh, a resident of Katana village in the district. But obviously he did not take it home.

    An hour before the train was supposed to reach the station, Singh and his advocate, Rakesh Gandhi reached there. They handed over the courts order to the train driver when it arrived at 6.55 pm. However, section engineer Pradeep Kumar got the train released on superdari from a court official who too was present there, thus making it property of the court for now.

    Sampuran said they did not stop the train as that would cause a lot of trouble to the passengers.

    The case goes back to acquisition of land for the Ludhiana-Chandigarh railway line in 2007. The compensation was enhanced by court from Rs 25 lakh an acre to Rs 50 lakh. In this regard, Singh was entitled to Rs 1.47 crore. But the railways paid only Rs 42 lakh. While the original claim petition was filed in 2012, the court ordered the railways to pay the due amount to him in January 2015. Since the amount was not paid, he filed the plea for execution of the orders.

    About the orders of the court for attachment of the train, divisional railway manager Anuj Parkash said, “There was some issue relating to compensation amount to a farmer which is being sorted out”. He added that such orders are to be examined by the law ministry. “What will the petitioner do with the 300-metre train? Can he take it home?” he asked rhetorically.


    OUR TAKE

    This is an extra ordinary judgment passed by the Sessions court. But considering the practicality of the same, we observe no concrete benefit on the part of the farmer. We are yet to see the following consequences of the same. However, it shall act as lesson to the railways department for what can be the result of causing injustice to a common man.


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