JAMMU, Aug 23: While lauding the intention behind the anti- encroachment drive launched by the Governor in the State, NPP chairman and former Minister Harsh Dev Singh today said that the movement would be successful only if the big fish having grabbed State and forest land worth crores are evicted by the administration and punished under law before laying their hands upon the poor and the landless.
Addressing protesting Panthers Party workers here today, Harsh Dev Singh said not only the encroachers of prime land needed to be dispossessed and booked for grabbing Government land but action was also required to be initiated against those officers who facilitated such large scale encroachments in circumvention of laws by colluding with the encroachers. He said that 18 lakhs kanal of Government land could not have been usurped by encroachers in the State without the backing and connivance of rulers with political and other influential persons.
He strongly condemned the selective eviction of poor, landless people besides bulldozing of the ‘rehris’ and ‘pharis’ being operated by poor people to earn their two square meals a day. Pointing towards the Roshini Act enacted in 2005-2006 by the then political Government for realization of targeted revenue of Rs 25,000 crore by regularization of such un-authorized holdings, Singh said that merely an amount of Rs 76 crore was realized with the illegal encroachments still continuing to remain in the possession of the all powerful land mafia. With several top politicians, ex-Ministers, MLAs, MPs and several bureaucrats having encroached huge tracts of Government land as revealed in media and through RTI besides through AQs in Assembly, a beginning was required to be made by evicting these mighty and powerful people who had abused their position and authority in the past to loot the state and its resources.
Seeking early action and conclusion of eviction proceedings during the currency of Governor Rule, Singh said that a white paper should also be issued as to how and why the palatial mansions and commercial hubs constructed on State and Forest land besides JDA and Municipal land in violation of existing laws by politicians and top bureaucrats had been granted immunity from legal and departmental action.