Patiala, September 21
The Engineering wing of the local Municipal Corporation is now in search of another chunk of land to shift dairy farmers out of the city. The department is also mulling a reduction in the rate for allocation of plots to dairy farmers.
The two matters were raised by dairy farmers repeatedly over time, but the corporation had failed to address them.
The issue cropped up again when Local Government Minister Inderbir Singh Nijjar held a meeting with MC officials over its pending projects on Monday. Officials said a process to identify a separate chunk of land to shift dairy farmers had been started. An official said, “We lack any such chunk of land, but we are trying to do as it has been proposed.”
The development has come a year after the dairy farmers operating from the city were directed to shift to a new site at Ablowal village by September 30, 2021. The process could not be completed after the state government intervened in view of the dairy farmers’ demands.
The dairy farmers had been raising the two demands — decreasing the rate for allotment of plots and relocating them to more than one place around the city to ensure proximity to all locations — since the beginning of the project. The matter was raised repeatedly during meetings with MC officials. The dairy farmers also went to court over the same.
MC officials said, “The matter was discussed with the Local Government Minister. Thereafter, it was proposed to identify another site to shift remaining dairy farmers. At present, 66 dairy owners have paid 5 per cent earnest money and expressed willingness to shift to the Ablowal site.”
The department is also mulling reduction in the rate for allotment of plots, which was currently Rs 3,500 per sq yd, they said.
Leaders of Opposition parties said the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was trying to use the struggling project to win support of the dairy farmers for votes in the upcoming MC elections.
Mayor Sanjeev Sharma said it was a welcome step, but added, “Dairy farmers here have not even applied to shift to the new site. The government should first ensure that they apply and book plots at the new site before starting the new project. Already, the initial project has lingered on for 24 years.”
Former Mayor and SAD leader Amarinder Singh Bazaz welcomed the step of identifying a new site and reduction of rates, but quipped, “The city is regularly affected due to disposal of dairy waste into the drains. They should first shift dairy farmers from within the city to the already developed site before making futher plans.”
Farmers’ two demands
Dairy farmers have been raising two demands - decreasing the rate for allotment of plots and relocating them to more than one place around the city to ensure proximity to all locations - ever since the project to shift them out of the city began. The matter was raised repeatedly during meetings with MC officials. The dairy farmers also went to court over the same.
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