The rural development and panchayat department has identified 600 residential plots of five-marla each in the district, which have been encroached upon, for eviction.
Following a recent survey of locating such properties, the department has started proceedings of summoning the illegal occupants of the lands to the district headquarters office to give their representation for vacating the premises.
The department officials had conducted a survey of such encroachments and found that 71 villages where nearly 600 residential plots of five-marla were encroached upon.
Panchayats such as Mahalan, Dhaliwal, Chitti , Kurali, Rupewali, Dusanjh Kalan, Mandi, Raipur Sagnewal, Jand, Rurki, Nangal, Cheema Khurd, Mander, Chuheki, Jamsher and several others revealed that a large number of beneficiaries had sold off their plots in violation to the terms and conditions.
In some cases, it was found that the beneficiaries failed to construct houses and the plots were lying vacant in the same condition as it was given to them.
A senior department official said these five-marla plots had been given to landless Dalits under the Housing Sites for Houseless Scheme launched by the union government in 1973. Similarly, on the same pattern, the state government also decided to allot lands by the department to people belonging to the Scheduled Caste and other poor and landless families between 1998 and 1999.
These plots have been allotted from the shamlat (common) land of the gram panchayats.
As per rules, the beneficiaries could neither sell nor transfer these plots. As per Section 13A of the Punjab Village Common Land Regulation Act, the beneficiary cannot sell, mortgage or dispose of theland in any other manner. The beneficiary could only avail loans on the basis of construction of a house on the allotted plot.
Earlier, the rural development department had started investigations into the transfer of these plots after Jagga Singh, a Sangrur resident, filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court, demanding an inquiry into such allotments.
Singh had alleged that a large number of beneficiaries had sold off the plots.
After receiving direction from the court, the rural development department started the inquiry.
In Nawanshahr, the department officials found 1,173 residential plots, which will be evicted from encroachers. The department has already started issuing notices to them.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, district development and panchayat officer Avtar Singh Bhullar said the plots would be taken from them and its ownership will be given to panchayats of the villages concerned.
When asked that in many districts, FIRs had also been registered against beneficiaries, Bhullar said at first, we would first claim the plots.
He said he did not know about FIR registered against the beneficiaries in other districts.