Two groups of Akalis in the district have locked horns over the auction of a panchayat land in Kakrala village as one group accused the bureaucracy of favouritism.
The Kakrala panchyat and the Patiala Block Samiti- both represented by Akalis - have passed contraty resolutions in auctioning the land which houses a brick-kiln.
A week after the Kakrala panchayat passed a resolution that only those who have brick kiln experience may participate in the auction, the Patiala Block Samiti passed a resolution against it.
After passing a unanimous resolution, block samiti president Balwinder Singh Barsat submitted a plea before the deputy commissioner ( DC) and rural development director seeking the cancellation of the auction or relaxing the condition so that the public can also participate.
The prime land was auctioned for an annual lease of Rs 5 lakh for ten years in 2011. But, its auction for the next 10 years was cancelled due to a legal hitch. However, it has now AMRIK SINGH, Kakrala resident, who approached DC been scheduled for December 18, based on a court order.
Sources in the rural development department confirmed that certain conditions set by the panchayat were in favour of selected persons.
The sources also said they were helpless as only the DC or the rural development director had the powers to stay the panchayat’s resolution.
“Despite knowing that a bad precedent is going to be set, we are helpless as we can’t stop it,” said officials.
In the previous auction, the land was leased for 10 years with a 10 percent lease increase from the year before that. But this time, not only is the land being auctioned for 33 years, but the clause for increasing the lease amount is also missing.
Amrik Singh, a Kakrala resident who has approached the DC over the issue, said, “The sarpanch is hand in glove with some officials. This will cause a loss to the panchyat as they have fixed rules which will benefit only the current owner of the brick kiln. Why should the land be auctioned on the basis of the brick kiln? We should go for open auction which has a potential for more participants and competition, and which can fetch more money for the village.”
District development and panchayat officer Vinod Gagat said he had no powers to change the rules set by the panchayat, and added that he had referred the matter to the DC.
DC Varun Roojam said he had referred the matter to the director of the local bodies department who would take the final decision on the auction.
If the annual increase clause is missing in the panchyat resolution, it will be ensured that it is included in the conditions before the auction, he said.