Residents of about eight villages of the district, whose land is being acquired for widening the Bathinda-Amritsar national highway (NH-15), have alleged irregularities in the process of deciding compensation for them.
Bhupinder Singh, whose rice mill 'Harman Rice Mills Private Limited' near Goniana is on the upcoming road, addressing a press conference at the Press Club here, alleged, "The compensation given to land owners is about 40% less than the collector's rate as the properties on along the road are considered commercial land."
Reminding Union minister Nitin Gadkari of his promise that he would resign if any irregularity was found in the acquisition of the land during the NDA regime, Bhupinder Singh said that it was a perfect case for his resignation.
More than 123 acres of land in eight villages, adjoining NH-15, has been acquired for the road-widening project.
The rate for acquisition of commercial land was recommended by the price fixation committee at a meeting on July 16, 2014 at Rs 7.84 crore per acre, but now the compensation being given is at the rate of Rs 3,240 per square yard for commercial land and Rs 1,549 per square yard for residential land. It comes to Rs 156 lakh for commercial property and Rs 72.6 lakh per acre for residential property.
"The land, which was recorded as commercial is now being changed into residential and agricultural land. The compensation has been given according to residential and agricultural land rates for commercial property," alleged Bhupinder Singh.
He said, "The collector rate on NH-15 near Goniana is Rs 7,350 per square yard as it comes under commercial category. Many commercial buildings had been built on the road and they are paying taxes at commercial rates."
Udeshpal Gupta, another villager, whose land has also been acquired, said that they are paying taxes on commercial rates for the past many years and now officials have counted it under residential land for compensation.
Owners of Krishna Wire Products Private Limited also said that their land also comes under the commercial category but the compensation has been given on residential property rates. Some area of OMAX Colony have also been acquired but the compensation for this has given on the rates applicable to the agricultural land.
Kuldeep Singh Sra, whose land has also been acquired under this project, also alleged that the land which was recorded as commercial property was later treated as residential or agricultural land and rates of compensation were slashed accordingly.
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Damanjeet Singh Mann said that they had formed a five- member committee to listen to the complaints and objections of the people. He further said that complaints in written could be submitted to the committee. The committee will check the places and spots and will prepare a report on the issue.