Rural Development Dept ‘going slow’ on getting it vacated
Lovely Professional University (LPU), Phagwara, owned by an Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha member, is under the scanner for allegedly grabbing panchayat land. However, the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats is “going slow” on getting the land vacated.
The panchayat land is in the possession of a gurdwara at Hardaspur. It was a clerical mistake that the name of the LPU was mentioned. — Aman Mittal, Vice-president, LPU
As per documents available with The Tribune, the issue was first raised at a meeting on June 3, which was chaired by Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal. The minister had even instructed the officials concerned to immediately get the panchayat land vacated from the possession of the LPU. However, officials of the department in Jalandhar and Kapurthala allegedly started dragging their feet on the issue and failed to take any action to take possession of the panchayat land.
Taking note of the situation now, the Chandigarh-based anti-encroachment cell of the department has asked for an action-taken report from the District Development and Panchayat Officer, Jalandhar. The DDPO, Jalandhar, Gurpreet Singh, said they had examined the ground situation and the land concerned falls in Kapurthala district. The DDPO, Kapurthala, Harjinder Singh Sandhu, said he had instructed his development and panchayat officer to check the situation on the ground, who informed that a part of panchayat land at Hardaspur village was in the possession of the LPU. He said he had asked the village panchayat to file a case against the illegal possession.
Minister Dhaliwal did not take calls despite repeated attempts. All attempts to contact LPU Chancellor Ashok Mittal remained futile as his phone was switched off.
However, Aman Mittal, vice-president, LPU, denied that there was any panchayat land in their possession. “The panchayat land is in the possession of a nearby gurdwara at Hardaspur. It was a clerical mistake that the head office issued instructions to the local authorities mentioning LPU’s name. We have taken up the matter with the Kapurthala district authorities as well,” he said.
Soon after coming to power, the AAP had nominated Ashok Mittal to the Rajya Sabha. In the recent past, the department has freed around 7,000 acres of land from illegal possession of land grabbers.