In a loud display of “zero tolerance” towards illegal occupation of public land along roads, public works department (PWD) minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon launched an anti-encroachment drive at the link road to Rayian village by the Kohara-Machchiwara road here on Saturday.
Accompanied by Ludhiana deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari, the PWD minister boarded a JCB machine and said that the SAD-BJP government had got a mandate on the plank of development “and now the government is committed to the convenience of the lakhs of commuters who have been facing problems due to unauthorised occupation of roadsides”.
Asked whether pressure from influential encroachers could derail the drive, as had been the case with several such drives in the past, Dhillon said, “No irregularity and laxity in the drive by any officer will be tolerated. It will be without bias.”
He added that it was to convey this message that he had initiated the “state-level” drive against encroachments from Rayian, which falls in his own assembly constituency Sahnewal.
“I have fixed May 30 as the deadline all for deputy commissioners to complete the exercise,” the minister announced.
Dhillon said more than 10,000 kilometres of the state’s roads, out of a total of 50,000 km, were encroached upon. “On national highways, more than 7,722 encroachments have come to light, of which 206 fall under thejurisdiction of municipal corporations.”
“Encroachers, including farmers, have been sent notices. Farmers will have to bring the encroached land on a level with the adjoining road,” said the minister.
Superintending engineer Madan Bansal, executive engineer Gursewak Singh Sangha, Rayian village sarpanch Jagir Singh and Katani Kalan sarpanch Mahinder Partap Singh were also present.