Punjab revenue and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia on Friday likened Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa's land deals with those of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
"Bajwa and his fellow Congressmen follow Vadra's model of land scams. They have gone a step further by usurping shamlat deh (village common land), thereby inflicting a huge loss to the state exchequer by evading stamp duty. Besides this, they have also violated income tax norms, Majithia alleged while addressing the Masihi Jagrukta Rally here.
The rally was organised by Munawar Masih, chairman, Punjab Minorities Commission.
In his speech, Majithia claimed that the PPCC president and his coterie were hell-bent on grabbing non-saleable village common land. He said the way the Congress' "most powerful son-in-law" grabbed land at various places with the alleged connivance of Congress governments in different states, Punjab Congress leaders also tried this formula but could not succeed fully.
He said now it was up to the Congress to decide whether to back corrupt practices of its leaders or cooperate with the state government in bringing the guilty to book. He said the SAD-BJP government had decided to expose all such land deals and get all village common lands evicted so that these could be handed over to the panchayats concerned.
He assured that all "such manipulators", along with erring revenue and panchayat department officials, would also be dealt with as per the law.
Majithia assured that the chief minister Parkash Singh Badal-led government was fully committed to the welfare of the Christian community in the state and had already asked the Centre to extend all welfare schemes launched for Scheduled Caste/Backward Class (SC/BC) families to Christians. He said the state government had enhanced the outlay under welfare schemes for SC/BC and other weaker sections of society from Rs. 435 crore to Rs. 596 crore in the Annual Plan for 2013-14.
He added that a Masihi Bhawan would be constructed here soon and the state-level function on the occasion of Christmas would be organised in Gurdaspur on December 21. Majithia said he would take up the issue of 200 free units of power each to Christian families in the state on the pattern of SC families.
The state government has designated five registrars in the state to facilitate the registration of Christian marriages, he added.