In Kotkapura's Jiwan Nagar area, a large chunk of land has been encroached upon by people with commercial interests, like a wood scale, (lakar kanda), in addition to others.
"The site was earlier a pond and was filled by garbage by municipal authorities and thus came to be proper land. Over time, the land was simply encroached upon, unseen and unstopped by the local authority. The land title is in the name of the provincial government," alleged Gurlal Singh Lali, president, Human Rights Awareness Association, Kotkapura.
"The wood weighing scale has been running illegally. More than 100 trolley loads of woods are weighed daily and there is a huge income from it to a few persons occupying it. Vehicles heavily loaded with wood travel here, risking the lives of hundreds of schoolchildren, who have to walk on the same road daily," claimed Gurlal.
He claimed that a liquor vend had been set up in the area and the road was always broken. Jiwan Nagar is densely populated area with economically backward population.
The bidding of wood is carried out daily about 3 km from the scale in the cotton yard of New Grain Market Kotkapura, but all the load is weighed in Jiwan Nagar.
"They have also encroached upon the adjoining area by piling up the wood logs and parking trucks and trolleys. A complaint has been filed with the SDM Kotkapura."
"We have been occupying the land since 1982. House tax and rent is being paid to the municipal committee," said Narinder Singh, ex-municipal councilor, who is one of the members running the scale. However, he admitted that the land belonged to the government.
A religious structure has also come up near another road in the area.
"A man who claims to be a an ascetic has constructed a room at the prominent place at the abandoned octroi-post at the cross roads of Devi wala and Bir Sikhan wala roads in the town. Nobody stopped him," claimed Jaswinder Singh, a Bir Sikhan Wala resident.
Another alleged encroachment has also come up by a religious place on the small corner of a prominent plot of the municipal committee in Prem Nagar. The committee plans to auction this land at a reserved price of Rs 19,000 per square yards.
"We shall remove the encroachment by the wood scale in Jiwan Nagar, but the land encroached on adjoining to octroi post does not belong to us," said Rakesh Kamboj," municipal engineer Kotkapura. He claimed that he was not aware of the encroachment on a corner of the plot in Prem Nagar.
"A complaint about the case is pending with us and will be disposed off as per merit. I shall look into the matter and the encroachments would be removed immediately. Strict action will be taken in this regard," said Harjeet Singh Sandhu, SDM Kotkapura, administrator municipal committee Kotkapura.