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PLPA notification renewed in Mohali villages after row

Comes after reports that govt was going to let earlier notification expire, thus ‘benefitting’ builders and others, including CM

punjab Updated: Feb 03, 2018 11:33 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh/Mohali
PLPA notification,Mohali,Captain Amarinder Singh
BJP state unit vice-president Harjit Grewal (3L) and secretary Vineet Joshi (5L) with villagers protesting against the ‘improper’ notification, at the DC office in Mohali on Friday.(HT Photo)

The Punjab government has renewed a ban on construction and other activities in the kandi belt area falling on Mohali district, again notifying section 4 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) for 15 villages. There was a row after reports that the government was going to allow the earlier notification to expire at the at the end of 15 years on February 2, thus “benefitting” builders and other bigwigs, including chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh who owns some land here.

“The notification has put a stop to the misinformation campaign in the region,” said forest and wildlife preservation minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, “Work will continue, as before, in works related to schemes in the closed areas of forest, soil conservation, rural development and panchayat department.”

To ensure maximum publicity for the move, announcements were made from religious places and advertisements were also given in newspapers.The minister also said that earlier the forest department got conducted a complete study by the Central Soil Conservation Institute (a Union government undertaking), and Punjab Remote Sensing Agency, besides other agencies. These agencies, he claimed, had termed this land as ‘severe erosion’ area.

Meanwhile, protesting the move to “illegally” implement the PLPA in the villages, some local people led by BJP’s state unit vice-president Harjit Singh Grewal and secretary Vineet Joshi protested outside the deputy commissioner’s office in Mohali. They accused the district forest officer of assuming the powers of the DC and issuing notices.

‘Follow proper procedure’

Grewal and Joshi said, “The high court orders clearly state that if the government wants to implement the PLPA then it should first conduct a proper legal and scientific evaluation to ascertain that soil erosion is taking place and the water table is falling. Secondly, if erosion is taking place and water table is falling, then the government should be convinced that implementing the ban under PLPA would stabilise ecology in the area. Thirdly, proper legal procedure should be followed as prescribed under section 7 of the PLPA.”

“However,” they claimed, “forest department officials are misleading the poor and illiterate landowners of the villages.” They demanded that a fresh notification be issued after adopting “proper procedure and mandatory provisions”.

First Published: Feb 03, 2018 11:33 IST