The state rural development and panchayat department has been working on a proposal to sell encroached portion of common village land (shamlat) to encroachers if they are ready to pay its cost to the government.
The step has been necessitated by the failure of the department to get its land vacated by people who have been residing on the shamlat (common) land of gram panchayat for years.
In a letter to divisional deputy directors of departments in Ferozepur, Patiala and Jalandhar (a copy is with Hindustan Times), the joint director has asked them to carry out a survey in their divisions through the district development and panchayat officers to identify common lands in areas on which people are residing and asks for a list of people, who are willing to pay the cost of land.
A report has been sought on the village level, including the total area of the land and the therein.
IDEA BEHIND THE MOVE
This thought was first articulated by a committee on the panchayati raj (local government) in the state legislative assembly, on the rationale that it would increase the income of the panchayats.
The committee recognised the fact that thousands of people had been living on panchayat lands by constructing their houses for more than 50 years are ready to pay the cost. The panel suggested that the income of panchayats will increase due to this and be further used for development. The state government also has a policy wherein the land could be handed over to people living on it, if cost is paid.
Sources said that hundreds of acres of village land had been encroached upon the state and the department officers had been hard-pressed to take a decision on the status.
Meanwhile, sources said most of the encroachments had been done by people of the weaker sections and as and when the land is needed to be vacated, a rehabilitation solution should also be in place.
A senior official of department said that department had not given any time frame for the preparation of the report, but had just asked for immediate work on the issue.
"We have requested the department to give us more time as we do not have enough manpower," said an official.
When contacted, director, rural development and panchayat department Siban C said reports were yet to be received. He added the department wanted to know the area in the state under encroachment and the number of cases pending at the district level.
FOR LAND AND REVENUE
The step has been necessitated by the failure of the state rural development and panchayat department to get land vacated by people who have been residing on the shamlat (common) land of gram panchayat for years.
No time line has been fixed for this, but the logic advanced is that the panchayats' income will rise if the land is sold legally.
Sources said most of the encroachments had been done by people of the weaker sections and as and when the land is needed to be vacated, a rehabilitation solution should also be in place.