Land sharks backed by Akali leaders raked in the moolah by purchasing notified land from the farmers at throwaway prices and then getting huge compensation from the government for the land acquired for the Jalandhar-Chintpurni national highway.
According to official documents procured by activist Rajiv Vashisht under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the land sharks earned more than Rs 50 crore at Piplanwala village situated on the outskirts of Hoshiarpur. Documents reveal that 14.75 acres worth Rs 86 crore was acquired at Piplanwala village on the Hoshiapur-Jalandhar road of which around Rs 77 crore went to land sharks and Akali leaders, who purchased the notified land from the needy farmers. A total of 103 acres was to be acquired for Rs 286 crore in Hoshiarpur district for the project.
“The land acquired at Piplanwala was not a prime land and far from the national highway. But even then, the landowners got Rs 5.77 crore per acre as compensation on an average. Those owning the land along the highway, where the rates are high, got a compensation of Rs 2.77 crore per acre. Isn’t it a scam?” questioned RTI activist Vashisht.
Akali councillor, kin got richer
Akali councillor and realtor Harpinder Singh Gill got a compensation of around Rs 31 crore for the 442 marla barren land in the village which he purchased 10 days before the acquisition. Documents reveal that the land was shown as a residential colony.
Gill’s family members, including his son, mother, wife, brother, sister-in-law and niece, got a compensation of `5 crore for another piece of land as they were shown owners of the property.
Gill, cooperative bank chairman Satwinder Pal Singh Dhatt and Hoshiarpur market committee chairman Avtar Singh Johal are among the Akali leaders who got the land registered in their names to get compensation running into crores.
Records available with the RTI activist reveal that higher compensation was given to Akali leaders and land sharks in villages under the Naloian revenue circle and Singdiwala.
Market committee chairman Johal was given a compensation of Rs 3.24 crore for 25 marlas of land at Singdiwala village, situated on the outskirts of Hoshiapur, whereas a farmer of Piplanwala village got a meagre compensation of Rs 35,000 per marla for his agriculture land situated on the main road.
“As we were not getting full compensation for our land, patwari Parminder Singh conveyed through a friend that if we want to get handsome amount for the land for which we were yet to be paid, we should sell it to them (land sharks),” said a farmer, wishing not to be named.
DC orders inquiry
Hoshiarpur deputy commissioner Anindita Mitra has ordered a probe into the land acquisition at Piplanwala village where a land was shown as a residential colony to get higher compensation. “I have read some reports in newspapers. Though I am not involved in the acquisition, but as a DC, I have decided to probe the matter. I will personally visit the sites,” she added.