It has been over one-and-a-half months since the office of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal issued orders to remove encroachments from the panchayat land at Feroz village on the outskirts of the city, but the administration and the panchayat department have failed to take any action on the ground so far under alleged political pressure.
Reports suggest that land grabbers continue with the possession of several acres of land located on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road, about 9km from here.
This, despite the fact that the panchayat had won the case pertaining to 12 acres of land in April last year in the court of the district development and panchayat officer-cum-collector, but no action was taken. The violators, who allegedly enjoy the patronage of the ruling party in the state, have turned it into agricultural fields or ponds for cattle.
Feroz village sarpanch Gurmej Thapar had filed a complaint with the deputy chief minister during a sangat darshan programme in the first week of June following which the complaint was referred to the panchayat department ordering it to take action in this connection within 10 days.
Panchayat department officials in Chandigarh had written to the authorities concerned in Jalandhar to resolve the complaint till June 10 and ordered to send a report, but nothing concrete happened on the ground.
The village sarpanch again contacted the deputy chief minister’s office, informing that the local authorities had not taken action, the panchayat department authorities wrote to the district development and panchayat officer (DDPO), Jalandhar, about the latter’s failure to get the violations removed and asked him to file a report by June 29.
Not only this, another 11-acre piece of agricultural land belonging to the village panchayat is being encroached upon, it has been learnt.
“I am tired of visiting the offices of the deputy commissioner, district development and panchayat officer, block development and panchayat officer (BDPO) and others, but no one is serious enough to remove the encroachments,” a visibly upset Thapar said.
Thapar claimed that several development works such as construction of toilets, playground, water tank and garbage dumping site have come to a standstill due to these encroachments, with government officials turning a blind eye to the issue.
“I will now move the Punjab and Haryana high court against the administration and panchayat department,” the sarpanch said.
When contacted, district development and panchayat officer Preet Mohinder Singh said, “I do not have any information about this case. I will be able to comment on this only after checking the details with the authorities concerned.”
“I will seek a report from the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) concerned over the failure in vacating the encroached land,” deputy commissioner Kamal Kishore Yadav said.