Tribune News Service
Barnala, June 24
Alleging violation of norms in the allotment of reserved land (14.5 acres) via auction at Pakhon Kalan village, five Dalits climbed atop a water tank on Tuesday evening. Those sitting on the water tank include Birbal Singh, Kulvir Singh, Pargat Singh, Jagsir Singh and Varinder Singh.
Earlier, the AAP MLA from Bhadaur, Pirmal Singh Dhaula, had protested at the Barnala DC office for two days while the SC Commission has sought records from officials concerned.
“Upper caste landlords have taken the reserved land through some dummy bidders. As per norms, the Panchayat Department should allot this land to only those dalits who want to cultivate crops themselves,” said Harpal Singh, a resident of Pakhon Kalan.
Some villagers said their panchayat had 12 members, including the sarpanch, while five members had been supporting Dalits.
“To favour upper caste landlords, the Panchayat Department cancelled the auction on June 15 and 22, but completed the entire process on June 23 without issuing mandatory notices and informing those who had deposited security to bid for the reserved land,” said Harpal. Dhaula said officials concerned had been trying to alter the records. “The Punjab SC Commission has sought records from the Panchayat Department. I will meet commission members and share all the facts with them,” he said. Meanwhile, Barnala Block Development and Panchayat Officer Parvesh Goyal denied the allegations. “We have completed the auction of Pakhon Kalan reserved land as per the norms and maintained complete transparency. We have all the records,” said Goyal.
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