Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 12
The tiff between the Durgiana Mandir managing committee and Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) over a chunk of land adjoining the cremation ground, being used to store wood for last rites of Covid patients, refuses to die down.
PUDA, custodian of the 3-kanal land, has issued a notice to the committee and placed a board on the site prohibiting any trespassing and interference. Now, MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla has approached PUDA minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria to get it amicably settled, as the issue pertained to a social cause.
“At a time when there has been a surge in Covid casualties and the whole government machinery is on toes to save lives, the undue scuffle over a piece of land is unfortunate. Adding to the woes, the committee has refused to cremate unclaimed bodies. This could have never been expected in the holy city. In the light of existing circumstances, I have urged Sarkaria to allow the committee to utilise the land temporarily for the larger good of the public, if possible,” Aujla said.
The committee had raised a boundary over the plot and started shifting the logs of wood meant for the last rites. As per committee officials, this was done to spare the space for building more pyres keeping in view the rise in the number of deaths due to Covid.
Raising objections, PUDA officials assisted by the police scuttled this move, maintaining that no construction activity could be carried out on the plot.
Committee head Ramesh Sharma said there was never any intention of grabbing the PUDA land. He clarified that the boundary was built with temporary sheets to prevent the ‘sanctity’ of the wood.
“Rest assured, we are ready to pay the cost of the land, but PUDA is not responding to it. In 2019, during kar sewa of a sarovar here, CM Capt Amarinder Singh had announced to give the possession of the land to the committee. Following this, we had held meetings with Sarkaria and the PUDA secretary. Despite submitting our repeated representations, there was no response,” he said.
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