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Thousands of acres of land in illegal possession,Railways DGP tells HC

Despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court being aware of the seriousness of land-grabbing cases in and around Chandigarh.

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh |
November 22, 2010 12:16:32 am

Despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court being aware of the seriousness of land-grabbing cases in and around Chandigarh,the instances of land-grabbing and violation of the Periphery Act are on the rise. A confidential report has been submitted by Director General of Police (DGP),Railways,Chander Shekhar to the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently.

Shekhar is investigating the case pertaining to alleged illegal land acquired by bigwigs includingbureaucrats and politicians. In his report,he has submitted that after the constitution of special task forces in May this year,the number of cases filed under Section 7 of the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Act has swelled. Special task forces were constituted after the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the state to constitute the same.

Information gathered from the Commissioner,Patiala division by Shekhar reads that a number of 544 cases were filed before the constitution of task force. An area of 1056 acres was involved in litigation prior to the constitution of task force. After its constitution,353 fresh cases have been registered with an additional area of 599 acres is involved in litigation. In the Patiala division,a total of 931 acres of land is in illegal possession and 399 cases are pending.

The report further reads that a total of 4,719 acres of land is in illegal possession. The said land is located in Majri,Kharar and Dera Bassi and a total of 31 cases are pending in various courts. In a significant finding,the inquiry officer has submitted that “in eight villages taken as a test check by the high-powered committee headed by the Chief Secretary,Punjab,it has been analysed from the revenue record supplied by the DC,SAS Nagar,that some of the higher-ups acquired property. The names and other particulars of these high ups are being verified from their property returns and information supplied by them to their respective departments”.

After a meeting with the Chief Secretary to Government of Punjab,the eight villages are: Karoran (Nayagaon); Kansal; Nada; Parchh; Seonk; Mullanpur; Bhankerpur and Nagla. Shekhar has added that as many as 64 fresh cases were registered against illegal occupants in Dera Bassi by the State of Punjab on account of violation of Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Act,1961,in the Court of District Development Panchayat Officer (DDPO).

Shekhar has appealed to the High Court that direction be issued to the State of Punjab to initiate action against all the violators. In total there are 2455 violators out of which action has only been taken against 690 violators. “Stern action is also required to be taken against the remaining 1765 violators. The progress of prosecution against the violators is very slow” reads the report.

Chander Shekhar is retiring on November 30 this year after which the Punjab government will appoint a new inquiry officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP). A division bench comprising Justice A K Goel and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur had turned down offer made by Shekhar to continue as the inquiry officer even after his superannuation on November 30.

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