LUDHIANA: A Ludhiana farmer's fight for appropriate compensation for land seized to build a railway, came to an unexpected conclusion this week when a court handed him a train. Sampuran Singh, who has been fighting for the money since 2015, argued in the court that Indian Railways had underpaid him for a piece of land in the northern region of Punjab. While he won the case, the railway refused to pay and he filed another plea in January.
Last week, Singh's lawyer said in court that the state had awarded him an express train in lieu of the 10 million rupees he was owed. "We were tired of pleading with the railways to clear the pending dues. The court asked us to identify properties for recovering our money," said Rakesh Gandhi. Judge Jaspal Verma also granted Singh ownership of the station master's office in Ludhiana. After the hearing, Singh and his lawyer took the court order to Ludhiana station where they waited for the train to arrive before handing the document to the driver. Singh said he allowed the driver to carry on to its destination as stopping it "would have caused inconvenience to thousands of passengers."
Railway officials later secured an interim court order giving them control of the train until the case is heard again. "If they fail to pay the money, then the court can sanction an auction," Gandhi said of the 20-coach express train, which runs daily between New Delhi and Amritsar.