With the campaigning for the upcoming Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) election in full swing, the merger agreement issue that affects thousands of families has once again come to the fore.
The Congress has said that the BJP had earlier promised that it would settle the merger issue and ensure relief to the affected families, but it didn't take any action.
The Mayoral candidate of the Congress, Kailash Mishra, has alleged that the BJP simply tricked the residents, especially, those of the Bairagarh Township, over the issue.
Mishra said that unlike BJP, which won the Assembly election and forgot the issue, the Congress would redress the problem and solve it once and for all. Mishra's statement has brought the issue once again to the fore. The merger agreement controversy involves nearly 3,000 acres of land and it affects nearly 10,000 families in Bhopal.
The last ruler of erstwhile princely state of Bhopal, Nawab Hamidullah Khan, had signed the merger agreement with the Union of India. It was signed in 1949 (two years after independence). In this agreement, the last Nawab’s personal properties including buildings and agricultural land were listed.
However, some chunks of open land and agricultural land which was not listed in this agreement was considered government property. However, certain people who claimed to be Nawab's heirs sold this land to private parties. This ownership of houses built on this land, got into controversy later.
In August 2011, district administration asked people settled on this land, to present the documents of ownership, failing which the ownership would be cancelled.
Subsequently, a movement under the aegis of Ghar Bachao Sangharsh Samiti began nearly two years ago to fight for the rights of people who were being affected by this controversy. Though Congress has taken up the issue yet again, the BJP's reaction is awaited.