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Woman sarpanch in Bihar settles 20-year-old land dispute in 6 days

Pushpanjali Singh has already settled 52 civil and 30 criminal cases since taking over as head of Wari panchayat, comprising 18 villages and 15 wards in Dobhi police station area of Gaya district, in June 2016

india Updated: Jun 16, 2017 11:11 IST
Anil Kumar Ojha
Anil Kumar Ojha
Hindustan Times, Gaya
Sarpanch,woman sarpanch,land dispute
Wari pancyat sarpanch Pushpanjali Singh holding a gram kutchery (village court) in Gaya district of Bihar. (Anil Kumar Ojha/HT photo)

For a woman sarpanch in south central Bihar, settling a 20-year-old land dispute was just a matter of six days.

While ensuring quick disposal of the case, Pushpanjali Singh, 50, sarpanch of Wari panchayat in Dobhi police station area of Gaya district, also saw to it that no claimant to the disputed land was denied justice.

Known for tactfully handling disputes of various nature, Pushpanjali Singh has already settled 52 civil and 30 criminal cases since taking over as head of the panchayat, comprising 18 villages and 15 wards, in June 2016.

Pushpanjali Singh told HT that Ramashish Singh, 79, of Pidasin village in Dobhi police station area had approached her on May 20 to resolve the 60-year-old land dispute with his cousins — Sidhi Singh and Radhey Shyam Singh.

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“While Sidhi and Radhey Shyam eked out their livelihood by farming, Ramashish’s job with a private firm kept him away from the village for a long time. When Ramashish returned to Pidasin post retirement in 1997, his cousins denied him 5.89 acres of ancestral land he had inherited. When Radhey Shyam died in 1999, his widow Chandrawati Devi, who was issueless, gifted her share of land to Sunaina Singh, wife one of Sidhi’s grandsons,” Pushpanjali Singh said.

“Ramashish approached many villagers for help and also sought police intervention. With no solution in sight, he filed a partition suit in the civil court in 2006. Two criminal cases were also lodged with Dobhi police station by Ramashish and Sunaina. While the matter lingered, Ramashish’s eldest brother Sidhi passed away in February 2017,” the sarpanch added.

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Seeing the complexity of problem, the sarpanch summoned the three disputing parties — Ramashish, Swadesh, son of Sidhi and Suniana’s husband Ranjay—to the gram kutchery (village court) on June 7. “Half the battle was won when the rival parties, who had, by now, spent much of their wealth fighting legal battles, agreed to withdraw cases against each other,” she added.

“The land records were dug out and my husband, Sanjay Singh, took the lead in getting the disputed property measured. On June 12, the disputing parties agreed to take possession of their share of land, which was decided by draw of lots,” she said, adding, “All’s well that ends well.”

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 11:11 IST