Why are people losing sleep over this cremation ground in New Chandigarh?
The incomplete 80 ft road named Central Drive Road breaks abruptly in the middle, and the villagers erected the signboard over there because they wanted the land back.Updated: Oct 19, 2018 11:22 IST
Residents of Delhi-based builder DLF’s Hyde Park in New Chandigarh were in for a shock when a signboard for a shamshan ghat (cremation ground) came up on an unfinished section of an internal road in their society. Inquiries soon revealed, however, that it was an attempt by villagers of Salamatpur close by to take over the section.
And yes, it had once been a cremation ground, villagers say.
The incomplete 80 ft road named Central Drive Road breaks abruptly in the middle, and the villagers erected the signboard over there because they wanted the land back.
“It has been seven years since the residential project was launched, and more than two years since possession was handed over to the residents, but DLF has yet to acquire a small stretch of the road, meant for a chowk (crossing). It is Salamatpur village’s shamlat (for common facilities) land,” said Iqbal Singh Kingra, president of Hyde Park Resident Welfare Society.
Defending the act, Laghbhir Singh, a villager, said, “The land belongs to the village and measures 3.16 kanal. DLF has not given an alternative plot or paid compensation for it. There used to be a cremation ground here earlier and so we put up the board and fenced off the area.”
Around 70 families in the society use the road. “Lack of proper connectivity to the area within the project inconveniences the residents. Not just this road, but several others, even slip roads near commercial spaces, are still incomplete,” said Harjeet Singh Bhullar, spokesperson, steering group, DLF Residents and Commercial Owners.
Residents say they have been shortchanged. Krishan Kumar Lakhi, another society resident, said he paid 95% of the plot price in one go in 2011, which also included preferential location charges (PLC).
“The developer has to ensure that the land is free from any encumbrances when the project is launched and possession is given. But clearly, DLF didn’t do so. We were not told that space for a cremation ground existed right near our houses.”
On the assurance given by DLF on completing internal roads, Varinder Walia, one of the plot allottees, lamented, “We have been getting assurances for the last five years now, but so far nothing has happened to several patches where these roads either end abruptly or have missing parts.”
Meanwhile, Rakesh Kerwell, director – North, DLF, told HT that the developer was in the process of acquiring the land. “It is shamlat or village common land. We have already given consent for the transfer of the land but the government has to facilitate it. Even the local village recently passed a resolution for an alternative plot.”
Villagers getting an alternative site here for cremation seemed unlikely as Kerwell indicated that the government had demarcated such spaces in the New Chandigarh master plan, “and one has already been constructed.”