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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Farm labourers take control of common land in Faridkot village, panchayat protests

Raghbir Singh Brar, Autocar India  Faridkot, July 03, 2014
First Published: 22:12 IST(3/7/2014) | Last Updated: 22:20 IST(3/7/2014)

Many 'khet majdoors' (agriculture labourers)  from Jhakhar Wala village have allegedly taken  control of the 4 acres of common land in the village, which the panchayat claimed to have given on annual lease.

They have been allegedly camping on the land demanding allotment of 5-marla residential plots as promise by the government before parliamentary elections. However, the panchayat wants the land back removing the encroachment.

"There are 21 people from the village who have taken the possession of the 4 acres of the common land forcibly without following any proper procedure. Though we had passed a resolution three days ago and had forwarded the same to all the officials concerned, yet no action has been taken against the encroachers so far," alleged sarpanch Kulwant Singh.

"These people also shouted slogans against us, misbehaved and also instigated others to spoil the atmosphere in the village and we want appropriate action against them," the panchayat stated in its resolution on Tuesday.

"They are demanding that they should be allotted plots, but all of them already have their own residences. The present panchayat has not moved any resolution in this regard," Kulwant claimed.

"Only three families from the village were found to be deserving for plots, but now many others are also claiming plots," said a local.

The four acres of common land, also called shamlat is located at Bajakhana road near a drain was handed over to a person on annual lease.

The land though barren, but is said to be cultivatable.

"We have forwarded our complaint to all the authorities concerned in the district and want some action to remove the encroachment," said Raja Singh from the village.

But defending the move, Gurtej Singh and Jagjeet Singh Jasseana, leaders of Dehati Majdoor Sabha, representing the labourers, claimed that the Punjab government had issued a circular for the allotment of 5-marla residential plots to the homeless labourers."

They want plots, but the panchayat is not passing a resolution in this regard as this is the first requirement for the allotment of plots. We shall continue our struggle till the allotment of the plots. We shall take ahead our agitation," they said.

When contacted, Joginder Singh, SHO, Bajakhana, said, "We have received the complaint and forwarded the same to senior officials. We have to ensure the law and order situation and action about the encroachment is to be taken by the DDPO office or the civil administration and we shall follow their orders."

"Even earlier, we had removed the encroachment by a few, but the have again encroached the land now with many others. We have received the resolution from the panchayat and proper action is being taken," said Amarbir Singh Sidhu, DDPO Faridkot.

"There is a proper procedure to be followed as per the criteria laid down for the allotment of residential plots. It can be allotted to deserved only and we shall check it as well," he added.

The common land has also not any path leading to it so far and the labourers have to reach it by a pucca water channel.

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