Panchayat dept seeks speedy trial in 230 land-related cases
With over 230 cases of encroachment, involving 136 acres of common land under different panchayats of Gurugram, pending before the sub-divisional magistrates, the development and panchayats department, Chandigarh, has asked for speedy disposal of cases.
Asking for putting villages in possession of the land, a letter was issued by Wazeer Singh Goyat, director general, development and panchayats department to the Gurugram administration on April 18. The letter drew attention towards expediting the process of eviction proceedings under the provisions of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act (PVLA), 1961.
“By keeping these proceedings pending, the unauthorised occupants are enjoying the fruits at the cost of the public and causing lossto the gram panchayat,” reads the letter accessed by Hindustan Times.
Of these 230 cases, 20 cases have been pending for at least two years and five of them have been pending for more than three years. According to the Act, these cases are to be disposed of within a maximum period of six months. Data shows that 210 cases have been in the SDM courts of Gurugram, Sohna, and Pataudi for less than a year.
A government official, who did not wish to be named, said, “Letters have been sent to respective SDMs to decide the cases expeditiously.”
Goyat also sought a monthly report regarding the number of cases decided and the area of land of which possession is delivered to Gram Panchayats. The district Panchayat office submitted the last such report in December 2018.
More than 24,000 acres of common land in Gurugram comes under the PVLA Act. The land is reserved for the common purposes and benefits of the village community, including streets, lanes, playgrounds, schools, drinking wells, drinking wells or ponds situated within the gram sabha area.
In Pataudi block, 74 villages together have 4,459 acres of common land. Likewise, 11,415 acres come under 45 villages of Sohna block, 4,906 acres in 35 villages of Gurugram and 4,026.98 in 48 villages of Farukkh Nagar.
Interestingly, the proportion of common land under panchayats is irrespective of the common land under Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG). “These are mostly semi-urban villages which are still under panchayats,” says city-based environmentalist Chetan Agarwal.
“Common lands falling under Panchayat support landless farmers. Many of these villages still use these lands to collect firewood and for grazing. As agricultural land limits the habitation boundary of different plant and animal species, common lands support these species to thrive and help in maintaining ecological balance,” he said.