Amritsar, May 10
Now that the government’s drive to free the panchayat lands from illegal encroachments is meeting with some success in rural areas, it has given hopes that a similar exercise would be undertaken in the city and perhaps the historical Ram Bagh, which would also be freed from all illegal occupants.
All previous governments have failed to take any action against private elite clubs. We hope that now the bagh will be freed of illegal encroachments and common man will have access to all areas of the bagh. Kuljeet Singh Malawali, patron, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Virasat Manch
More than half of the area of the 84-acre garden, which once used to be the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is under the illegal occupation of the three private clubs. The clubs have also constructed large tennis courts, lawn tennis courts apart from the spacious catering and banquet areas.
As per an agreement reached between the Municipal Corporation and Archaeological Survey of India, the three clubs were to be shifted from the bagh premises. The clubs initially meant for the recreation of British officers before Independence have continued to operate illegally till date.
Advocate Kuljeet Singh Malawali, patron, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Virasat Manch, said: “It seems the historic Ram Bagh is not a public place, but a private property as most of its area is under the control of the three private clubs.”
Singh said all previous governments have failed to take any action against the private elite clubs. “We hope that now the bagh will be freed of illegal encroachments and common man will have access to all areas of the bagh,” he said.
Charanjit Singh Gumtala of Amritsar Vikas Manch, which has been pursuing the cause for the last more than two decades, said: “We have already written to the government functionaries in this regard.” He said as the government claims itself to be a government of the common people, it would make the historic bagh available to them.
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