Patiala Municipal Corporation's (PMC) undeveloped park in Guru Nanak Nagar area is now being eyed by the land mafia.
Yet, even with influential politicians on their side, encroachers have not been successful in their bid to take over the area of 2,400 square yards, following objections raised by locals.
The space for the park was reserved under the town planning scheme implemented in 1982. Acting on complaints by residents, Patiala rural Member of Legislative Assembly Brahm Mohindra also visited the place and assured them that they should take it up with the authorities concerned.
The civic body, on the other hand, seems to have a turned a blind eye towards these efforts since it has failed to develop the park in the past three decades.
"Some political leaders are trying to encroach on the area in order to develop a housing colony on the corporation's land. This is a serious issue since PMC has failed to develop the park, giving open opportunities to the land mafia to take illegal possession of it," said Mohindra.
The controversy started when three local residents had taken illegal possession of the park, registering two plots (250 square feet and 200 square feet) under their names in 1995. Patiala district court cancelled these sale deeds in 2001 and directed PMC to develop the park.
Rajinder Singh, president of welfare association, said in spite of repeated memorandums and requests to the civic body, it had failed to develop a green-belt in the area. "We have kept up a regular vigilance so that no one can encroach on the park. Despite people encroaching on the area, PMC has failed to do anything about it," he said.
Meanwhile, mayor Amarinder Bajaj said he was not aware of the issue but would look into it. "I have already directed land branch officials to study TP schemes and to prepare a list of parks being exploited by encroachers. After taking possession from encroachers, we will develop them for public use," said Bajaj.