Hoshiarpur: Distillery unit on panchayat land riles residents
In November 2016, the panchayat had leased out 12 acres to a Delhi based company. Another 3.2 acres to two private persons were leased out for 33 years on nominal rates for setting up a ‘small scale industry’.Updated: Sep 08, 2017 11:13 IST
Residents of Chhauni Kalan village on Chandigarh road have opposed the panchayat and rural development department’s decision of setting up a distillery on a part of panchayat land.The locals alleged that they were kept in dark about the purpose of the land lease. They said they will not allow the development of factory at the cost of their health.
In November 2016, the panchayat had leased out 12 acres to a Delhi based company. Another 3.2 acres to two private persons were leased out for 33 years on nominal rates for setting up a ‘small scale industry’. However information by a local, under the Right to Information Act (RTI), revealed that the land in question was to be used for a distillery.
Further inquiries revealed, one of the beneficiaries of the land agreement, is the son of the then block development and panchayat officer (BDPO). While the other beneficiary is prominent city contractor’s son.
Several anomalies were also found in the agreement deed. Villagers approached the BJP leader Sanjiv Talwar who took up the matter with the district administration. Deputy commissioner (DC) Vipul Ujjwal has marked an inquiry to the additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Harbir Singh. The latter informed that the lessee’ s had, till date, not applied for a no objection certificate from the concerned departments to set up any industry.
“The Jalandhar development authority (JDA) has pasted a notice at the site warning against any construction in violation of Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act,” the ADC said. BDPO Sukhdev Singh who had supervised the land deed, was not available for the comments. Sarpanch Surinder Singh Pappi denied having ‘cheated’ the villagers. “The panchayat gave the land for setting up of a small-scale industry but the department changed it to a distillery setup. I stand with the villagers and will thwart any attempt to establish a liquor factory,” he said. He alleged that certain vested interests had politicised the issue.