A.P. Paper Mills
This is a discussion on A.P. Paper Mills within the Judgments forums, part of the General Discussions category; K. Sreeramamurthy, S/o Somaiah, Agriculturist, R/o M. Nidamanuru Village, Tangutur Mandal, Prakasam District. ... Complainant. Vs. Sri J.K. Jain, General ...
- 09-11-2009, 08:30 AM #1
A.P. Paper Mills
S/o Somaiah, Agriculturist,
R/o M. Nidamanuru Village,
Tangutur Mandal, Prakasam District. ... Complainant.
Sri J.K. Jain, General Manager (Forests),
A.P. Paper Mills, Rajahmundry (A.P.).
This complaint is filed by the complainant Under Section 12 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 directing the opposite party to pay Rs.7,33,700/- for the loss caused by the opposite party by selling defective and infested Eucalyptus sapplings to the complainant and to pay Rs.1,00,000/- towards compensation for mental agony and for costs of litigation.
1. The averments in the complaint are as follows: The complainant is an agriculturist owning agricultural land in M. Nidamanuru Village of Tangutur Mandal. The complainant approached the opposite party for raising Eucalyptus plantation in his 23 acres of land and during the discussion the opposite party advised the complainant to raise clone 27 and 3 variety of Eucalyptus Sapplings as they could with stand the on slaught of pest and weather conditions and would yield much profits. Having impressed by the assurance given by the opposite party, the complainant purchased 27,600 sapplings by paying Rs.1,24,200/- at the rate of 450 per sappling and transported the sapplings from the nursery and planted the same in his 23 acres of land spending Rs.1,15,000/- towards agricultural expenses. Though the complainant paid much attention as instructed and in spite of repeated application of insecticides as recommended by the opposite party, the plants in the total area of 23 acres had stunted growth, leaves curled with narrowness, leaves drying, malformation of leaves at growing tips leads to dropping of plants and died. The complainant purchased sapplings from local nurseries and filled the gaps where the sapplings died. Those sapplings from local nurseries have grown up to the height of 5 to 6 feet with healthy growth. But the sapplings sold by the opposite party have grown up height of 1 to 3 feet only with infestation. On the advise of the supervisor of the opposite party nursery at Tangutur, the complainant sprayed M.45 and Rogor pesticide. Even after applying the same there was no change in the condition of the plants.
2. The complainant brought the same to the notice of the opposite parties about the bad condition of the plants through his letter dated 11.04.2008, but there was no response from the opposite party. As there was no response from the opposite party the complainant submitted a representation to the District Collector, Prakasam District appraising the conditions and circumstances and immediately, District Collector directed the joint Director of Agriculture to arrange joint inspection of the crops along with forest range officer, Ongole. The Assistant Director of Agriculture and the Forest Range Officer, Ongole jointly inspected the Eucalyptus plantation of the complainant on 12.05.2008 and submitted detailed report to the District Collector on 16.05.2008. In their report they clearly stated that the total plantation was infested and resulted stunted growth because of infested sapplings supplied to the complainant. The opposite party deceived the complainant by selling infested sapplings and thereby caused heavy loss to the complainant. Under these circumstances the complainant is constrained to file the present complaint.
3. The opposite party filed its counter contending as follows: Wood is a major, essential and principle raw material for any paper/paperboard industry. A.P. Paper Mills Limited was heavily dependent upon the supplies of the Government from the natural forest and the said dependency continued for a long time. The company having foreseen the difficulty in obtaining wood from the natural forest established an in house research and development wing for developing high and disease resistant clones of Eucalyptus.
4. The Research and Development wing of the company has developed many varieties of Eucalyptus/Casuarinas a low cost planting technique for the benefit of the farmer. Eucalyptus clones developed by the R&D wing of the company, are supplied to farming community as per the choice of the farmer with a view to develop wood, a basic raw-material for the company, but not with an object of making profit out of this activity per-se. In short it is a understanding to buy back the wood developed by the company at farmer’s land.
5. The complainant is not an agriculturist and his main occupation is that of a Director with Assist India an organization known for routing funds for the sake of up-liftment of the down trodden. The complainant has no knowledge in farming skills as he has not acquired the same from his prior generations. The complainant approached their office at Ongole and request for supply of Eucalyptus clones.
6. At the time of booking it was made very clear to the complainant that he should inform their office ten days in advance once he gets his land ready for planting for collection of required sapplings. But the complainant without giving any intimation and without preparing the land for planting took delivery of the sapplings for plantation. This might have resulted in negative growth of sapplings. The complainant received the sapplings in good condition and the sapplings supplied to the complainant were of good quality and of high grade that had all the immunities against infections. It is true that clonals do get infected under certain circumstances like preparation of land, manuring, pesticizing, watering regularly and securing it from animals and taking precautionary measures from viral infections etc., In the event of any such care is not administered the probability of getting infected raises and perhaps this was one of the reason the plants got infected or the plants might have been effected by the seasonal viral infections that have prevailed upon the plants.
7. The complainant purchased sapplings from local nurseries and filled the gaps where the sapplings died gall infection would transmit from one plant to the other. The root cause in spreading the gall infection in the plants is the low quality plants purchased from local nurseries to fill the gaps. The complainant who is aware of this risk intentionally planted these clones that led a serious impact on the existing clones in his land.
8. The complainant has got much influence at the District Level Officers of the District through his organization and made the officers involved for his selfish ends. The reports submitted by the complainant are not the opinion of an expert. In the present case there is no such expert opinion to find out the prime cause of stunted growth and caused loss to the Eucalyptus plantation. The opposite party supplied good quality of clones which were developed in good quality nursery of the opposite part’s company as disease resistant clones of eucalyptus under by back agreement and the cause of stunted growth and loss to the plantation and loss to the plantation due to lack of good administering methods of the complainant to safeguard the plantation and this opposite party is not at all responsible to the loss of the complainant and there is no deficiency of service on the part of the opposite party. For the foregoing reasons the opposite party prays the court to dismiss the complaint.
9. On behalf of the complainant Exs.A1 to A8 were marked. Ex.A1 is the Letter addressed to the opposite party by the complainant dated 11.04.2008. Ex.A2 is the letter dated 11.04.2008 to the D.F.O., Ongole by the complainant. Ex.A3 is the letter addressed to the A.O., Tangutur by the complainant dated 18.04.2008. Ex.A4 is the Xerox copy of letter dated 29.04.2008 to the Collector & District Magistrate, Ongole by the complainant. Ex.A5 is the letter dated 06.05.2008 to the D.F.O., Ongole and The D.C., DAATTC, Ongole by the J.D.A. Ex.A6 is the Xerox copy of letter addressed to the Collector by the J.D., of Agriculture dated 19.05.2008. Ex.A7 is the legal notice to the opposite party by the complainant dated 25.06.2008. Ex.A8 is the reply letter dated 09.07.2008 to the complainant by the opposite party.
10. No documents are marked on behalf of the opposite party.
11. The point for consideration is whether the complainant is entitled for the reliefs as claimed in the complaint.
12. The learned counsel for the complainant argued that the complainant is an agriculturist owning land in M. Nidamanuru Village. He purchased 27,600 clonal sapplings of Eucalyptus from the nursery of the opposite party for Rs.1,24,200/- and planted the same in his 23 acres of land spending Rs.1,15,000/- towards agricultural expenses. After five months the complainant noticed that there was no growth in the plants and the plants had stunted growth, leaves curled with narrowness, leaves drying, malformation of leaves at growing tips leads to dropping of plaints and plants were dieing. He further argued that galls were noticed in the clonals at the nursery it self and the supplier assured that they will not continue after plantation and believing the words of the supplier the complainant planted the clonals spending huge amounts. But due to the poor quality the clonals effected with virus and the entire crop was lost causing heavy loss to the complainant and the opposite party is liable to compensate the loss.
13. The learned counsel for the opposite party argued that clonals supplied to the complainant were good and free from virus. He further argued that the growth depends on several factors including fertility, timely plantation, temperature, irrigation facilities and pest timely control measures etc. The complainant who is not an agriculturist and who has no knowledge in cultivation miss-managed the crop and due to his miss- management the crop failed. He further argued that the complainant purchased clonals from local nurseries and planted in the gaps caused by the death of the clonals supplied by the opposite party. Gall infection would transmit from one plant to other plant and due to the plantation of the clonals purchased from local nurseries the clonals supplied by the opposite party got infected which lead to loss of crop and for this opposite party could not be blamed and prayed the court to dismiss the complaint.
14. The District Forum appointed an advocate Commissioner for the purpose of conducting local inspection of the Eucalyptus plants in the land of the complainant and assess the loss sustained. The commissioner was asked to take the assistance of Mandal Agricultural Officer, Tanguturu during inspection. The Advocate commissioner in his report stated that he went to Mandal Agricultural Officer by name V. Pratap and request him to receive notice and assist him during his inspection. But, he refused to receive the notice and did not co-operate the commissioner. He further stated that he tried to give notice to the opposite party but they are not available. Therefore he inspected the crop in the presence of the complainant and some villagers. I find no reason to disbelieve the above statement of the commissioner when he stated that the Mandal Agricultural Officer refused to receive notice and assist him and the opposite party is not available for inspection. In his report the commissioner stated that there is 100% failure of Eucalyptus crop. Photos and video displayed in open court show that there is total failure of crop. But the commissioner did not give any opinion whether there is any defect in the sapplings supplied by the opposite party and what was the reason for failure of the crop.
15. The complainant addressed a letter under Ex.A1 to the General Manager, A.P. Paper Mills, Rajalhmundry informing him that there was no growth in the plants even five months after plantation and plants are dieing and their Supervisor at Tanguturu nursery inspected the field and advised to spray M.45 and Rigor Pesticide and inspite of spraying there was no change in the condition of the plants. There is no response from the opposite party for the letter.
16. The complainant also sent representations through letter to Divisional Forest Officer, Ongole under Ex.A2, to the Agricultural Officer, Tanguturu under Ex.A3 and to District Collector, Ongole under Ex.A4. As per the directions of the District Collector, Ongole, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Ongole inspected the Eucalyptus plants of the complainant along with Forest Range Officer, Ongole. In his report, the Assistant Director of Agriculture stated that due to occurrence of Galls, Plants are stunted in growth, leaves curled with narrowness, leaves drying, malformation of leaves at growing tips leads to drooping of plants and died vide Ex.A5.
17. The main argument of the opposite party is that the clonals seedlings of Eucalyptus supplied by the opposite party are of good quality in terms of growth and yield and clonals were delivered to the complainant are in good condition and the complainant fail to obtain expert opinion to know where the clonals are defective or of good quality. In the absence of the expert opinion forum cannot rely of Exs.A1 to A6 produced by the complainant for attributing crop failure to the opposite party.
18. It is true that the burden to prove the deficiency if any on the part of the opposite party is on the complainant, it is also true that in the present case no expert opinion is obtained. But there is the report of the commissioner which shows that there is total failure of the crop. In the present case, the Assistant Director of Agriculture inspected the crop and opined failure of the crop was due to occurrence of Galls. The reports of the Commissioner and the Assistant Director of Agriculture, Ongole can be taken into consideration even if there is no expert opinion. Non-production of expert opinion is not fatal to the case of the complainant since report of the Assistant Director, Agricultural can be taken as expert opinion.
19. The opposite party have not sent their representatives to the fields of the complainant inspite of the complainant making representation to that effect. The opposite party fail to take any steps on the representation sent by the complainant. The complainant having purchased 27,600 sapplings and planted the same in 23 acres of land spending huge amounts would not have fail to look after the plants by watering and by using pesticides. When the complainant is stating that the clonals are effected with Galls at the nursery it self nothing stopped the opposite party from sending the sample plants for expert opinion.
20. There is no explanation from the opposite party. Not responding to the representation of the complainant amounts to deficiency in service on the part of the opposite party. Considering circumstances of the case and the reports of the Advocate commissioner and the Assistant Director of Agriculture, Ongole, we are of the opinion that clonals supplied by the opposite party were defective. Therefore it is reasonable to direct the opposite party to pay the cost of the clonals to the complainant i.e., Rs.1,24,200/- to the complainant. So far as the amount spent on cultivation there is no documentary evidence to prove the same. With regard to loss of income claimed by the complainant I am of the opinion that the claim of the complainant that he would have earned so much income has he raise alternative crops for the year 2007 and 2008 is nothing but Hypothetical and unpredictable. Therefore the claim of the complainant Rs.1,15,000/- towards cultivation expenses and Rs.4,60,000/- towards loss of income is rejected.
21. In the result, the petition is allowed in part directing the opposite party to pay the cost of the clonals i.e., Rs.1,24,200/- to the complainant with in two months from the date of order and on its failure to do so to pay interest at 9% P.a. from date of filing of the complaint till payment. The complainant is also entitled to receive Rs.10,000/- as compensation towards mental agony and Rs.1,000/- towards costs of litigation.
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