The construction of a new building in place of the old one, that once housed the office of revenue patwaris for years, close to historic Qila Mubarak here, has become a bone a contention with revenue patwaris up in arms against the alleged attempt to encroach upon a part of the prime land, that, they said. belonged to the Punjab government.
Members of the revenue patwari union staged a protest at the site on Tuesday evening and submitted a representation to deputy commissioner Basant Garg demanding his intervention to stop the construction.
The disputed land measures 248 square yards. On about one third of the land, a reverse osmosis plant has been set up. The building was vacated by the revenue department in 2007, after it was declared unsafe.
Gurtej Singh, district president of the union, said that the office of revenue patwaris was run from the building for years and as per the revenue records, the land belonged to the Punjab government, but two persons, both named as Gurpreet Singh, had got the land registered in their name fraudulently and were now trying to encroach upon the land by constructing a building in place of the already existing old structure.
“Even an inquiry conducted to ascertain the ownership of the land in 2015 by the district administration had clearly established that the land belonged to the Punjab government, but both alleged owners, who had got the land registered in their name in 2013, have started the construction to capture the land,” he said.
Gurpreet Singh, who claims to be one of the owner of the land, said that they had purchased the land and building from Raman Kumar, a resident of Dabwali in Haryana in 2013. “The land belonged to Raman Kumar as his ancestors owned the property and they had won a court case regarding the land. At present, we are pursuing the work of renovation and repair of the structure after permission from competent authorities,” he said. The site has been inside the prohibited area close to Qila Mubarak, a protected monument, so prior permission is required for any construction activity around 300 metre radius of the same. The politically influential people from the SAD-BJP alliance are said to be backing the persons, who claim to be owners of the said property.
Sub divisional magistrate, Bathinda, Anmol Singh Dhaliwal, said that all the activity on the site has been stopped for now and all records pertaining to land summoned to settle the issue.