The panchayat land of Gwal Pahari villagers, which covers the majority of the area claimed by Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) since its formation in 2008, remained untouched during Tuesday’s demolition and land acquisition drive by the civic body. It has raised questions if the drive was directed at land owners who offered little resistance and did not have any political backing.
The drive on Tuesday led to the MCG recovering 142 acres of land, mainly unoccupied land of 34 farmhouse owners, while no action was taken in reclaiming the panchayat land.
The panchayat land is distributed among Gwal Pahari villagers, who have claimed ownership over the land from pre-independence time.
The same argument was presented when MCG came into existence in 2008, when it replaced the panchayat and led to panchayat land being disbanded.
Since then, the MCG has made several attempts to claim the land by sending eviction notices. However, each attempt has failed to materialise and displace the villagers.
“We have sent eviction notices several times but without success. Any attempt of displacement has resulted in political interference and hence, no demolition drive or sealing drive has been executed,” a senior MCG official said.
Two months ago, Gurgaon MLA and BJP leader Umesh Agarwal wrote to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, asking that the residents of Gwal Pahari not be displaced. He had also raised the issue on the floor of the Haryana state assembly.
Residents also use the MLA’s support to not give up the land. Last September, eviction notices were sent to the villagers, who then approached the MLA following which the MCG retracted its claim.
“The land belongs to the villagers and the civic body’s claim over it is baseless. Residents possess the necessary documents of ownership and hence, the accusation of ownership is redundant. Thus, local politicians and the district court has also lent support to us against the MCG,” Ram Kishan, former sarpanch of Gwal Pahari, said.
Next action after high court’s decision: CM
In a press conference held in New Delhi, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar reiterated that the next course of action on the Gwal Pahari land issue will be discussed after the Punjab and Haryana high court’s verdict on the land ownership.
“The Gwal Pahari land belongs to the people and the matter has been deflected by previous governments. However, action will be taken after receiving the high court’s direction and land owners will get due justice,” Khattar said.