Panchkula DC smells rat in shamlat land sale
In a glaring case of extending undue favours, monetary compensation was awarded to several individuals for chunks of shamlat land in Panchkula district acquired by Haryana urban Estates department for Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), in clear violation of rules. Deputy commissioner, Panchkula, Vivek Atray, on Friday ordered an inquiry into the matter.
A report of the land acquisition officer (LAO), Panchkula, has pointed out violation of the provisions of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961. The LAO’s report pointed out that monetary compensation was paid to some individuals for acquired shamlat land of several villages without any order of the collector (deputy commissioner). Also, as per Rule 71 of Punjab land revenue rule, “the list of co-sharers shall not be prepared and supplied without the previous sanction of the collector unless required in connection with a revenue, civil or criminal case”. “The award of compensation for shamlat land cannot be given to individuals. The matter has come to our notice and we will inquire into it,’’ Atray said.
Section 13-A of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 says that any person, panchayat or its gram sachiv (secretary), the concerned BDPO, claiming right, title or interest in any land or immovable property vested or deemed to have been vested in panchayat under this Act may file a suit for adjudication to decide whether such land is shamlat deh or not and whether any land or other immovable property or any right, title or interest therein vests or does not vest in a panchayat under this Act, in the court of the collector.
In a communication to director general, urban estates; administrator HUDA, Panchkula, Sanjiv Verma, has estimated a scam of over Rs 300 crore in respect to payment of compensation for acquired shamlat land to individuals without the orders of collector from 1998 to 2013 in Nada, Maheshpur, Chowki, Saketri, Rampur Siyudi, Rajjipur, Surajpur, Manakpur, Nanakchand, Manakpur Thakurdas, Lohgarh, Dhamala, Firojpur, Rattpur, Islamnagar, Bhagwanpur, Nangal Sodian villages of the district.
FILE TO BE SENT TO CM
Additional chief secretary, town and country planning, P Raghavendra Rao, when contacted, said that matter would be brought to the notice of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar “The file will be submitted to the CM. We want to make sure whether the land in question was shamlat or actually owned by the individuals. The matter will be investigated by Panchkula DC,” he told HT on Friday.
The alleged fraud came to light when HUDA administrator was going through 80 applications for allotment of plots under ‘oustees policy’ against shamlat land, which are pending. Verma, however, could not be contacted for comment. Another dimension of the alleged fraud was the enhancement in land compensation in the court which expanded the racket from Rs 346 crore to around Rs 1,500 crore, sources said. The accused as per HUDA administrator not only bagged the compensation wrongly but also got oustee quota plots in the past.
FRAUD NOT NEW
In the past too, two FIRs were registered in 2011, one pertaining to Chowki and other of Nanakpur Nanak Chand, Surajpur, Dhamala where compensation in respect of shamlat land was paid to individuals. “Therefore, it is quite probable that such irregularities may have happened in the past where the payment of shamlat land has been made without due process and plots may have also been allotted to them under oustees policy which is also a matter of separate inquiry,” reads HUDA administrator’s communication.
“Since, the issue has immense implications, including financial and affects larger public interest, it is desirable that matter with regard to the determination of share in the shamlat land as referred in LAO report is inquired into. It is therefore, recommended that this matter may be referred to the state vigilance bureau or CM flying squad to conduct a regular inquiry,” the communication said.
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