Army launches exercise to reclaim its encroached land in Kanpur
The Indian army is fighting a different battle here in Kanpur these days —a one to reclaim its illegally occupied land in different corners of the city.
Only last month, it had sent a Quick Reaction Team (QRT) to city’s Chandari area where a swanky residential colony is being constructed on a piece of land, which as per army records is classified as A1 (one which come under the direct control of the army).
It was being used as loading and unloading point for tanks and artillery guns for last four decades. To secure the area of land mentioned in the documents of 1944, the army wanted the entire area to be measured.
As per the statement issued by the army and available with HT, the QRT went to builder Savit Bhatia, secretary of Nagarji Housing Society, with two requests. First, to ensure immediate removal of the CCTV cameras from the premises as they violate the secrecy required for movement of tanks in the area and the second to get the land measured.
But the army men claimed the builder was hostile towards them. In a video, the builder can be heard telling the armymen that they were behaving like Pakistan army. Bhatia is also seen yelling at the officers and the jawans and likening the army with ‘chors’ (thieves). Bhatia said he went to the army commander and regretted the words he used.
“It happens when you feel harassed; those words came out in the heat of the moment, I never meant them,” he said to HT. The army, meanwhile, maintains that it was facing all sorts of trouble in recovering its lost lands classified as A1 in Kanpur Cantonment area. “The land sharks have encroached upon the army land in Chandari area so much so that the tanks cannot pass from these areas now and we have to use much longer route for the same,” said an army officer.
The army claims that it had got a survey of its A1 properties conducted recently and has now launched an exercise to reclaim the land under the Public Premises (Eviction of unauthorised occupants) Act, 1971.
As per the survey, a large part of A1 land in Kidwai Nagar has been turned into marriage lawns and people are being charged Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for each event.
Also, many of those living in Bhagwat Dass ghat area have built houses on the army land.
According to survey, hundreds of families were living illegally at the area where there is also a rifle range for army men.
“The land mafia with the political support are building pressure on the army to stall the proceedings to get their land vacated,” the army has put out in a statement available with the HT.The QRT team members, who are tasked with securing the land, said the pillars they put up to demarcate the land are regularly damaged by encroachers.
Worse, as an army officer puts it, the Kanpur electricity supply company has released electricity connections to people.
The Kanpur Municipal Corporation and Kanpur Development Authority also apparently are siding with land mafias knowing well that the land was A1, said the army statement.Colonel Umendra Vaish, station staff officer, said the army was committed to get the encroachments at nine places cleared.
DM Vijay Vishwas Pant said the army doesn’t need the help of the administration in this exercise. He, however, maintained that the army would follow the due process such as holding hearings and passing the judgement on eviction to avoid any law and order issues.