Contrary to the common perception that residents of Kanakwal village near here want the state government to take the responsibility of relocating them to get rid of the problem of pollution by Guru Gobind Singh refinery, the majority want compensation and want to shift from the village on their own.
The trends among the villagers emerged in a survey conducted by the district administration during the past four days.
The survey has found that more than 50% families want the government to pay compensation to them for their property so that they could shift out of the village.
The district administration teams conducted the survey by visiting all the 400 households in the village. According to the survey report, as many as 256 families have opted for compensation and want to construct houses on their own, 91 have opted for government help in finding a suitable place and compensation so that they could construct houses on their own while 53 families are in favour of government identifying the land and constructing the houses as well.
Earlier, there was a perception that the majority of the residents want the government to take the responsibility of total relocation of the villagers, including finding the land and constructing houses and provide other facilities.
However, as divergent views had emerged at the first meeting of the officials, led by KJS Cheema, special principal secretary to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal last week, so the district administration decided to conduct a household survey to know the views of every family on the shifting.
Deputy commissioner, Bathinda, Basant Garg, said that trends emerged in contradiction to the general opinion. He said that the report in this regard would be submitted to the chief minister and the government will decide the next course of action.
The villagers, opting for compensation instead of government help in relocation, are believed to be influenced by the slow pace of government machinery and apprehension of irregularities in the whole process, that might result in compromising with quality.
Bhakar Singh, nambardar of the village, said that, however, there was a sentiment earlier that the government should shift the villagers, but it is not strange that majority of residents have opted for compensation and want to shift on their own.
He said that the government process for identifying the land and constructing the houses might take time, but the residents want to get rid of the problem as soon possible so the majority have opted for compensation.
Importantly, ever since the refinery started functioning in 2012, residents of this village, in close vicinity of the refinery, have been demanding relocation alleging that pollution by the unit has made their lives miserable and they were suffering from several ailments because of the pollution.