Chennai: Concluding a 47-year-old land acquisition dispute, the Madras high court has upheld acquisition of about 13 acres of private land by the tourism department in Mamallapuram for establishing a world class oceanarium at an estimated 250 crore.
Dismissing a batch of pleas moved against the acquisition, Justice G K Ilanthiraiyan has now held the acquisition is valid, and the land can be put to public use by the state. The issue pertains to a GO passed by the state tourism department dated December 6, 1974 for acquisition of 13.07 acres of land situated at Mamallapuram, ECR. The state government later decided to establish a world class oceanarium (underwater aquarium). The total value of the proposed project to establish the oceanarium amounted to 250 crores.
Aggrieved, a group of land owners approached the court contending that the land acquisition has lapsed by operation of section 24(2) of the new Land Acquisition Act.
When the pleas came up for hearing on November 1, additional advocate-general Neelakandan, representing the tourism department, relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Indore Development Authority case and submitted that as per Section 24(2) of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 when the compensation is paid/deposited or the possession is taken, that is sufficient to save the acquisition.
“Compensation was already settled to the petitioners and the necessary documents were produced before the court to substantiate the same,” he said. Recording the submissions, the court dismissed the batch of petitions challenging the acquisition and held the acquisition proceedings are proper and valid.