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GMADA took our fertile land, but didn’t give rent, plots: Mohali farmers

Hollow promises: Farmers adjoining ambitious IT City and Aero City projects accuse GMADA officials of callousness, say their repeated trips to its office has yielded nothing but harassment.

punjab Updated: Jan 14, 2018 12:31 IST
Shubkarman Dhaliwal
Shubkarman Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Mohali
GMADA,Mohali farmers,Aero City projects
Jarnail Singh at his residence in Matran village in Mohali. He says no official ever took the initiative to give him rent pending for so many years.(Sikander Singh/HT)

Years ago, there were his verdant fields where now Jarnail Singh often takes his buffalo for grazing. His heart sinks to see the piece of land that was acquired by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to develop IT city under the land pooling scheme promising him great monetary return in the bargain.

However, he feels GMADA played clever with him to accept the deal and hence deceived him.

Under the award announced by the court of Balwinder Singh, collector, land acquisition, on April 4, 2010, Jarnail Singh was to be given rent, fixed by the deputy commissioner, of the acquired land from the day of possession by the GMADA till the day he is given possession of the plots and commercial site, which was to be given to him under the agreement by the GMADA as part of the land pooling scheme.

‘Where is the plot, booth?’

It has been five years now and the authorities have not paid any land rent to Jarnail Singh. “They gave me a letter in which it was said you have been given a 200 yard plot and a 20 yard booth. I still don’t know where that plot and booth site is. I have gone to GMADA’s office number of times asking for the rent but every time returned empty handed. No official ever took the initiative to give my due rent pending for so many years,” said Jarnail.

The stretch from Airport Chowk to Dehri village road, which is presently being repaired by GMADA owing to big potholes, was the area where Jarnail’s family had one acre of land. While other members of the family had opted for cash compensation, he had opted for land pooling scheme.

Recalling the incident, Jarnail adds, “The wheat crop in my field was still green when GMADA officials came and said they wanted to construct Airport Road. So, I gave that crop to Gaushala in Sector 45. Now, I go to the fields to graze my cattle because that area is yet to be fully developed and a large part of the land has lots of green grass.”

Surjit Singh points to the plot allotted to him in Aero City, Mohali. He says, due to its low level, he will have to do earth filling at least 10-foot deep. (Sikander Singh/HT)

‘Bribed officials to get cheque’

Jarnail is not alone. Surjit Singh, 46, of Bakarpur village received his first land rent for his two acres of land in 2013. The GMADA had acquired his land for its ambitious Aerocity project in 2010.

“I went to take my land rent many a time to GMADA office but they didn’t listen to me. In 2013, I got my first instalment of land rent through cheque of Rs 30,000, but I had to pay Rs 3,000 as a bribe to get it cleared from the officials,” said Surjit. After that he never got rent.

Then, GMADA allotted him the plot at a secluded area, far away from the main road of Aerocity. “My land was adjacent to the main road that links Mohali with Zirakpur-Patiala highway. GMADA should have given the plot at a prime place. No one would offer me good price of the plot because of its poor location,” he adds. “First, to bring it at the level as that of main road nearby my house, I will have to do earth filling at least 10 feet deep in that plot. The other 300 yard plot that I was allotted by located near a choe that stinks profusely. Obviously, no would offer a deal for that plot located close to the stinking drain,” said Surjit.

“My land was very fertile for growing crops. I had also installed a tubewell in it.”

In the villages adjacent to the periphery a large number of farmers haven’t received their land rent, especially the marginal farmers. The farmers also have a grouse with the attitude of GMADA officials. “They behave politely and sweetly till the time of notification is issued for the acquisition of the land. Once land is acquired, they start humiliating the farmers when they approach for getting dues. We have been made to wait for entire day to meet an official,” said Sewa Singh.

About compensation cases, Reena Duggal, land acquisition collector, GMADA, said, “There may be some cases where farmers have taken both the benefits: taking the compensation money as well as benefit under land pooling scheme.”

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 12:29 IST