In blatant violation of the Works of Defense Act, 1903, and orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court, various structures have come up in the prohibited 1,000-yard radius of the Indian ar my’s 17-field ammunition depot, Baddowal, 10 kilometres from Ludhiana.
The structures, including houses, tubewells and even a swimming pool, are amongst the recent constructions that have come up right under the nose of the district administration.
A glaring example being the construction of a dairy far m by Sukhdev Singh, t he personal assistant of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik. Spread over an area of 500 square yards, the construction falls under the prohibited 1,000-yard radius of the 17-field ammunition depot, Baddowal.
In June 2011, following the orders of the high court, the owners of the houses and buildings falling under this radius were asked to evacuate the buildings. Also, the owners of the landholdings were notified not to construct even a cattle shed or renovate the tubewell rooms.
More than 1,100 residents of Ayali, Bains, Detwal, Gahaur, Baddowal, Khande, Threeke, Barewal and 50 urban colonies had submitted their objections to the district administration in reply to the notices issued for evacuation of houses falling in the radius.
Though the area residents under the Baba Nand Sigh Nagar Welfare Society have challenged the orders of the high court before the Supreme Court, there is a ban on any new construction in the said area. The Supreme Court had asked the defence secretary, union gover nment, to submit a report on the matter.
Taking a jibe at the district administration, Shamsher Singh, a resident of one of the villages, said, “The administration had demolished some houses and cattle sheds constructed decades ago, but the politically-affiliated Sukhdev Singh constructed such a large structure right under the nose of all senior officials.”
Contacted, deputy commissioner ( DC) Raj at Ag a r wal expressed ignorance over the construction, adding, “I will de pute a senior of ficial to inquire into the matter. If violation of the Act is found, appropriate action will be taken against the guilty.”
Asked about the construction, Sukhdev Singh said he had bought this plot for ` 13 lakh in January, and completed construction on it two months ago.
“Since there were ongoing constructions in the area, it did not occur to me that my building could be illegal. This is a conspiracy against me by some politically-affiliated people, as I have taken loan for both the dairy farm and plot. Moreover, I will accept any action by the administration,” Sukhdev added.
Meanwhile, MLA Shivalik claimed t hat after learning about the illegal construction by Sukhdev Singh, he had severed all ties with him.