Land acquisitions be put on hold, fraud inquired – Himachal Kishan Sabha

Shimla: Demanding a review of land acquisition act, Himachal Kishan Sabha (HKS), the communist outfit has asked the government to conduct a vigilance inquiry about land acquired for a cement unit in Dharalghat as revenue records have allegedly been tampered with, depriving farmers crores of rupees in compensation value.

The sabha has demanded a vigilance inquiry against a former revenue official, who till 1998 was a patwari in Dharlaghat but now is a management executive, allegedly handling land acquisition for the cement unit there.

Tikender Panwar, vice-president HKS let the media know that an internal inquiry by higher revenue officials had revealed that revenue records for the land acquired for the cement unit had been tampered with, with the intent of devaluing the prevailing land prices then.

“The tampering led to undervaluing land worth Rs 300,000 and Rs 38,000 per bigha being actually awarded only Rs 37,500 and Rs 7,125 respectively, said Panwar.

The cement plant is said to have acquired about 250 bigha of land in the village in 1999 but for its expansion plans now intends to acquire another 900 bighas in the adjoining village of Chola, Rauri and Sanghoi for which Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894, stands notified.

About 1200 farmers of Gyana village alone have been underpaid about Rs 20 crore,” says Roop Chand Thakur, of village Gyana and a member of HKS.

Though the compensation offered for new land has been enhanced to Rs 90,000 and 30,000 for agricultural and non-agricultural farms, farmers have refused to part with their land says Thakur.

Panwar demanded that the acquisition proceedings be put on hold and the law reviewed. “About 2500 people are under threat of being uprooted in the three villages, he added.

The sabha has also announced holding of a demonstration on 21st December at Darlaghat, to protest against the acquisition process.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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