Chandigarh, May 17
Inhabitants of Mirzapur village, located in the eco-fragile Shivalik Hills near here, are at loggerheads with the Forest Department over the application of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA)-1900 on 3,300 acres.
The PLPA provisions bar any construction and levelling of hillocks.
Conflict over 3,300 acres
- The Forest Department says nearly 3,300 acres in Mirzapur village still closed under the PLPA
- Villagers, however, claim the notification putting the land under the Act ended in 2018
With the concept of farmhouses in the forest area catching up the fancy of the VIPs, many land sharks have bought chunks of land in villages falling in an ecologically sensitive area in the Shivalik foothills on Chandigarh’s periphery.
Notably, a public notice was inserted in papers by supposedly inhabitants and landowners stating that the notification under Section 4 of the PLPA had expired in 2018 and another under Section 5 of the same Act lapsed in 2019. The purported public notice warns that a legal action will be taken against the forest officials who try to interfere in the land. The villagers alleged undue harassment by Forest Department in name of the laws.
Meanwhile, Gurcharan Singh, ex-sarpanch of Mirzapur village, said in 2018, they had sought compensation from the Forest Department in lieu of the land again being re-notified under the PLPA. “But the department never reverted and the village land was never re-notified. In 2018, the state issued a notification under Section 4 of the PLPA for 21,944 acres in 15 villages falling in an ecologically sensitive area in the Shivalik foothills on Chandigarh’s periphery. But Mirzapur was never part of the notification,” he added.
Sources reveal of the total 3,807 acres in the village, near 500 acres was delisted. The land under cultivation and habitation prior to 1980 had been delisted through a state government notification in 2011. The remaining 3,386 acres is still closed under Section 4 of the PLPA. “But for the delisted land, permission has to be sought from the Housing Department. It’s not that one can carve out roads and farmhouses without any permission,” said forest officials.
To counter the public notice inserted by private persons, the department is issuing a counter-notice informing the general public that Mirzapur village was permanently closed under Section 4 of the PLPA vide a notification issued on September 23, 1914, which hasn’t neither been revoked by the state government, nor has it been quashed by any court.
The Forest Department has informed that stay has been imposed on any type of interference in the land of Mushtarka Malkan in Mirzapur village by the court of Collector-cum-ADC (Development), Mohali.
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