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Posted at: Feb 11, 2019, 9:02 AM; last updated: Feb 11, 2019, 9:02 AM (IST)

Despite HC orders, Kotkapura civic body fails to take action

Fails to remove encroachment over 2,520 sq yd of govt land

Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, February 10

The Kotkapura Municipal Committee’s failure, owing to alleged political interference, to remove encroachment over 2,520 square yard of its prime property in the town is set to cause trouble to its officials. The property is in the possession of a politically influential person who has built over 20 shops on it, earning lakhs of rupees as monthly rent from the “tenants” of these shops.

A resident in Kotkapura had filed a contempt petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in January 2017, pleading that the district administration and the Kotkapura Municipal Committee were not removing the encroachment on the prime land under political pressure.

On December 3, 2018, the High Court had directed the civic body and the district administration to remove the encroachment before January 30, 2019. In compliance with the orders, on January 21, civic body executive officer Balwinder Singh issued a public notice, asking all occupants of the shops to vacate the premises. The EO warned that these shops should be vacated before January 28 or the district administration and police would resort to use of force to remove it.

On January 28, police personnel were deployed near the encroached land on Hari Nau Road in Kotkapura to evacuate it but for some unknown reasons the civic body and the district administration did not act to remove the encroachment.

Executive officer Balwinder Singh avoided any query regarding the encroachment and its removal as per the High Court orders. Rather he expressed his helplessness. Sources revealed that under the pressure of a Congress leader, the municiap committee has postponed its action plan for indefinite time.

Earlier, the person in illegal possession of this land offered to pay the market price to the state government. However, on November 19, 2018, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Faridkot, rejected this proposal of regularising the ownership of the property in the name of the encroacher by accepting the market price. The Additional Deputy Commissioner said there would be a public auction of this land and the illegal occupants can purchase the land by giving higher rates in pursuance to the auction.

Relying on a High Court order (October 4, 2008), Ashwani Kumar Gupta, a Kotkapura resident, had filed the contempt petition against the Kotkapura civic body and the Faridkot deputy commissioner. As per the orders, any public person is at liberty to institute contempt of court proceedings against the civic body for not removing encroachment on the government land.

Contempt petition

  • A resident in Kotkapura had filed a contempt petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in January 2017, pleading that the district administration and the Kotkapura Municipal Committee were not removing the encroachment on the prime land under political pressure. 
  • On December 3, 2018, the High Court had directed the civic body and the district administration to remove the encroachment before January 30, 2019. In compliance with the orders, on January 21, civic body executive officer Balwinder Singh issued a public notice, asking all occupants of the shops to vacate the premises. The EO warned that these shops should be vacated before January 28 or the district administration and police would resort to use of force to remove it.

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