BENGALURU: Eight years ago, Basavarajappa Ballappa sold his two-and-a-half-acre land in Ballari district to the government for Rs 12 lakh for a proposed steel plant. He hoped it would help him lead a comfortable life.
His dream has been crushed. Ballappa, 75, was reportedly cheated by a middleman, who swindled his money after drawing the compensation amount and paying him only Rs three lakh. He told him he paid a lot of money to get the cheque released from government officials.
Ballappa’s misery is shared by landowners across the state, who not only lose their land for development/power projects but are also cheated of compensation by middlemen. To put an end to such frauds and ensure transparency, the government has decided to credit the compensation amount directly to the bank accounts of landowners when their property is acquired under the 2013 Land Acquisition Act.
“Earlier, payments were done either by cheque or demand draft and landowners had to pay multiple visits to revenue offices and grease the palms of officials to get their money. Now, we will directly transfer the amount to the landowner’s account through the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system,” said a senior revenue officer. The system is likely to benefit landowners who have no knowledge about compensation,” the government said in a notification issued recently.
Quoting the notification, a senior official from Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) said several landowners are poor farmers who are either illiterate or lack financial knowledge. “Most of them take the help of middlemen and often end up getting duped. The new system will not only be convenient for landowners but also check corruption,” he added.
After the notification for land acquisition is issued, officials of the department concerned will first verify the credentials of landowners. “They will note down the landowner’s bank account details and assist him in opening an account if he doesn’t have one,” said an official from the land survey department.
Credits ET Realty