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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Giving a hoot to law, its enforcers encroach upon government land

Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, October 23, 2013
First Published: 19:28 IST(23/10/2013) | Last Updated: 19:31 IST(23/10/2013)

In complete paradox to the orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court to extend help to local bodies department for removing encroachments, the police commissionerate has itself encroached upon government land in several places to set up police stations or chowkis.

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The latest example being the police chowki, which has come up at Nehru Rose Garden, a preferred place for hundreds of morning and evening walkers in the city.

Starting with a police kiosk to keep an eye on anti-social elements hovering in the rose garden, the police department has now converted a large part of the parking area into an office.

In addition, cops have encroached upon a lot of space to park vehicles recovered in theft cases and damaged in road accidents.

Also the space meant for parking vehicles of visitors to the park is now being used by the cops to park their vehicles.

"With police encroaching upon the parking area, the walkers get space to park vehicles on first-come, first-served basis, while the remaining park their cars and two-wheelers on the roadsides or the inner lanes of residential areas adjoining the rose garden," said Sadhu Singh, a retired government official.

It is not just the parks that have been encroached upon by the police department; they have also set up their offices in cremation grounds, vacant plots and market places.

Few examples being Atam Park police station, which has encroachment upon a park, Dhandari Chowki and Jeevan Nagar Focal Point station, which have been set up on vacant plots and Malakpur Chowki, which has found place on a cremation ground.

A group of senior citizens, who practice yoga at the rose garden every morning, while objecting to the highhandedness of police department, stated that the municipal corporation authorities must take notice of the encroachments.

Despite repeated attempts, police commissioner Paramjit Singh Gill was not available for comments.

Health department proposes, police department disposes

Health department has been issuing advisories regularly stating that old tyres and damaged vehicles that allow water to stagnate and in turn become breeding grounds for mosquitoes should be disposed of. But there still are hundreds of vehicles which have for years been lying dumped on vacant plots adjoining the police stations and chowkis.

MC Commissioner speaks

Rahul Tewari said the high court in its recent orders in a contempt of court petition had directed the state government either to ensure the removal of encroachments by government departments on government property or formulate a policy to regulate them. "I have already reviewed the encroachments of the government departments on government land and am writing to the higher authorities for immediate intervention and solution," he added.

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