In alleged connivance with revenue officials, land mafia was blocking the cancellation of illegal allotment of forest land worth R3 crore to some private persons under Zira sub-division of the district, despite of the fact that the deputy commissioner has repeatedly issued orders for the same.
Tejbalbir Singh, a resident of Ghatti Harike village under Makhu tehsil of Zira sub-division, was allotted 38 kanals of 'forest' land, just 500 metre from the world-famous Harike wetland, besides Harjinder Singh and Gurmukh Singh were allotted 34.12 kanals and 24 kanals, respectively, revealed divisional forest officer Sanjeev Tiwari.
Tiwari personally took up the matter with Ferozepur deputy commissioner Manjit Singh Narang, who after securitising documents found that the allotment was illegal.
On April 23, the deputy commissioner asked the SDM, Zira, to immediately initiate the required action to cancel the illegal allotment of the above-said forest land and give report on the matter, but when things did not move another reminder was sent on May 14. So far nothing had been done in this regard, said Tiwari.
When contacted, Manjit Singh Narang acknowledged that the orders were issued to cancel the illegal allotment and that he would get these directions implemented by Tuesday.
Abovementioned are not the maiden cases of illegal allotment of forest land to private persons allegedly in connivance with revenue officials. Earlier, the forest department had possession as well as mutation of 113 acres of land in Ghatti Harike village, but on December 12, 2010, a private person managed to get the allotment of 16.9 kanals in his name.
When the matter was highlighted by HT, a probe by a joint team of the forest and revenue department officials was ordered, following which the allotment was cancelled and the land was restored to the forest department.