Punjab: Squatters get time till June 30 to voluntarily vacate panchayat land

The Punjab government has granted the illegal stressors till June 30 to voluntarily give up the panchayat land, which will then be cleared.

Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Kuladeep Singh Dhaliwal made the announcement after meeting with representatives of 23 farmers’ organizations here on Monday. “After completing the legal process, the Punjab government is removing illegal residents from the panchayat land,” he said, making it clear that no house would be demolished.

The minister directed the concerned authorities to issue 15 days’ notice before the illegal press clearance. He said any person who receives a notice has any documents that support their claim and can be submitted to the District Development and Panchayat Officer for examination.

Dhaliwal said documents have been completed so far to remove illegal encroachers on 8,000 acres of panchayat land and have already released 2,600 acres of land. He said that in these cases, the Gorakhs have exhausted all legal options.

The minister said that the state government would protect the interests of the poor and small farmers.

A joint nine-member committee of government officials and representatives of farmer organizations will also be formed to identify farmers who have turned wasteland into cultivated land. “If there is a need for redressal of such cases, the matter will be referred to the Punjab Assembly,” Dhaliwal said.

“The campaign to clear illegal pressers will be held in commercial panchayat lands after June 10,” the minister said. The campaign will be launched in villages adjoining large cities such as Mohali, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar, he said.

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