Dalits upset as govt wants possession of plots allotted to them
Patiala: Around 35 Dalit families at Doghat village of Patiala district are upset over the cancellation of ‘allotment’ of 100 sq yard plots given to them by former minister Surjit Singh Rakhra through the panchayat for the construction of houses in 2012.
During the previous SAD-BJP government the Dalits in the village had been provided 74 plots measuring 100 sq yards each of the village common land for construction of houses. However, after scrutiny, only 35 villagers were found eligible under the scheme and were issued allotment letters after the local panchayat passed a resolution. Some of these families started constructing houses on the allotted land and even built a small temple. However, some of the villagers objected to the grant of the fertile village common land to them and all construction work was halted.
Recently, the state panchayat department reviewed the resolution passed by the panchayat and found that the proposal had not been approved by the state government and sent a notice to the 35 families that the constructions carried out by them on the village common land would be razed and the land auctioned for cultivation. Following this, the families moved the Punjab and Haryana high court, which ordered a status quo. Jarnail Kaur, one of the beneficiaries of the plot allotment, said the land had been provided to them as they were living in a pathetic conduction within the village. “Our houses are located near the village pond and we are constantly facing health problems,” she said.
Octogenarian Ujagar Singh said some of them had spent their life savings on constructing small houses on the land granted to them, but they could never live in these due to objections raised by some of the villagers. At present these families are using these houses as a shelter for animals and some have even planted vegetables.
District development and panchayat officer Surinder Singh said the land was in possession of the village panchayat and status quo ordered by the HC was in favour of the state government. “As the allotments made during the last government have no legal sanctity, therefore the department has proceeded with the holding of the auction of this land for cultivation.
Meanwhile, Rakhra said the land had been given to these families so that they could move out of the unhygienic conditions and now the state government was trying to exploit some legal loopholes to take back the land which could have helped these families uplift their living. He said it was totally uncalled for and after coming to power SAD would review the decision.