After legally wrangling for 25 years with a family, the forest department, on Friday, managed to took the possession of an encroached forest land at Teona village in this district.
In the presence of police force, the forest officials carried out the orders of the court of Bathinda sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) under Public Premises (PP) Act.
Till now, the land measuring a little more than 28 kanals (over 3.5 acre) was under the possession of one Gurdial Kaur, wife of Jagdev Singh of Teona village.
Bathinda Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sanjeev Tiwari said the dispute started with the family in 1991 and a long litigation, the department got the possession of land through a court order.
‘‘An IFS trainee Kanwardeep Singh along with heavy police force, revenue officials and his staff led by Kulwant Singh range officer Bir Talab reached the Teona village and took the possession of the land,’’ he said.
Son of Gurdial Kaur, Raj Bahadur Singh, who was cultivating the land after Gurdial Kaur’s death in year 2013, told HT that he was not there at that time and the officials took action in his absence.
Bahadur told that their family has the said land’s possession since 1952 and the documents of record of land cultivations were in his father’s (Jagdev Singh) name, who passed away in 1982 and after that the records were transferred to his mother’s name.
Bahadur claimed that he had filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana High court and the hearing would be held this month and said the officials had ploughed his cotton crop.
‘‘The officials acted forcefully as the matter was in high Court, even they neither took the possession of vacant land earlier nor gave me two months time to complete cultivated crop. I have to bear the loss, which I spent on the sowing of crop on that land,” he said.
DFO Tiwari said that on several occasions the accused destroyed the plants planted by forest department on the same land. Tiwari also claimed that the department in the past two years has reclaimed such 45 acres of the forest land, valuing in crore of rupees.