The Punjab government has set up a committee headed by the financial commissioner (revenue) to scrutinise revenue records of the Bari Karoran village panchayat in SAS Nagar. The exercise is aimed at delineating non-forest land in the village for executing developmental projects.
A submission on the case was made in a local court during the resumed hearing of a PIL filed by the Bari Karoran panchayat before a division bench headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Monday.
During the hearing, Punjab’s financial commissioner (revenue), principal secretary (forests) and principal secretary (local bodies) were present in the court in compliance with earlier court directions. While disposing of the petition, the court asked the state government to file its compliance report by October 31.
During its previous hearing on the issue of lack of developmental work in the area, the court had observed: “There appears to be a lack of appreciation of the problem, nor is there any plan in place as to within how much time the development projects would be executed. On our query the official concerned states he cannot even give a timeframe. This is not acceptable.” This had forced the court to summon the senior state government officials to the court.
The Bari Karoran village panchayat had approached the court challenging the Punjab government’s restrictions on the use of de-notified land because of which about 50,000 houses had been denied basic civic amenities. Two villages, Karoran and Nada, which are under the same panchayat, are located on the outskirts of Chandigarh and have a population estimated at 100,000.
Appearing for the petitioner panchayat, senior advocate Puneet Bali had highlighted the construction on proposed roads, water-logging and lack of municipal development in the area despite the area in question being a notified area. The petitioner had also sought directions to the state to accept the building plans and, after due scrutiny, sanction the building plans of the area’s inhabitants as per the final Master Plan2021 of the Nayagaon notified area committee. It was informed that once the Centre had separated the land under question from the rest of the forest areas, the Punjab government had no jurisdiction to impose any restrictions over the use of de-notified land as it fell outside its legislative and executive purview. The petitioner had challenged the state’s notification issued on August 13, 2010.