Thursday, November 10, 2011

News Article: Himachal Pradesh: Villagers oppose land allotment to BSF, hold meeting

TNN Sep 19, 2011, 04.59am IST

DHARAMSHALA: Hundreds of villagers from 15 villages of Shahpur block in district Kangra who have been affected due to allotment of land for the BSF training centre held a meeting under the banner of 'bhumi bachao andolan' on Sunday. They charged that those whose land was taken for setting up of the BSF training centre were not taken into confidence and the training centre will pose problems for them as it would block various passages.

Gurcharan Singh, president of the sangharsh samiti alleged that the government had not taken no objection certificate from any of the villages before allotting the land to BSF training centre. "For establishing the central university the authorities split the campus, which would come up in Dehra, due to shortage of land here. Now how have they found such a big chunk of land for the BSF training centre," he wondered.

He added that the meeting is the starting phase of a "revolution" and they will not allow the authorities to establish the BSF training centre here. "We came to know about this land allotment recently when we saw a road under the NABARD project going till the villages near Bandi coming up," he said.

The Himachal cabinet had approved the transfer of four acres of land in the Mohal Bhoi area of Shahpur tehsil (Kangra district) to raise a Border Security Force (BSF) battalion in 2009. It was the first BSF battalion to come up in the region.

Lalman, Pradhan of the Bhitlu panchayat blamed the district authorities saying that "they are acting like the agents of the government for fulfilling their own motives."

Pradhan of the Dadhamb panchayat Madhubala said that, "It is shocking how the government obtained forest clearance and allotted the land without the consent of the local people."

The process to acquire land for the BSF training centre was started in 2007. Most of the about 700-800 kanals being acquired for the BSF training centre is common land, belonging to eight villages in the area. The common land is the area left out in villages for common purposes. The land in question had a forest.

The then affected panchayats moved resolutions and gave their common land to the state government. The state government then transferred it to the BSF. The state has already received about Rs 2 crore as compensation for the land from the BSF. Sources said some of the newly elected panchayats of the area had withdrawn the resolutions transferring their common land in the name of the government for the establishment of the BSF training centre. However, with the land acquisition and transfer process already completed, hardly anything could be done in the matter.

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