Thursday, June 7, 2012

Congman upset over land allotted to central public sector undertakings

Rajiv Shah, TNN Jun 6, 2012, 12.27AM IST

GANDHINAGAR: A senior Congress leader from Bharuch, known to be close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political advisor Ahmed Patel, has strongly protested against what has called "encroachment" of common village land by two Central government public sector undertakings (PSUs). Congress whip Iqbal Patel has claimed that Petronet LNG and Oil and Natural Gas Natural Commission (ONGC) are carrying out commercial activities on government land in Vagra taluka.

In his representation, Iqbal Patel has taken strong exception to Petronet LNG having "cornered" 50 hectares (ha) of land, belonging to Moje-Luvara village of Vagra in Bharuch district. In his letters to top state officials, including principal secretary for revenue, principal secretary for industry, and managing director of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), he has sought "immediate cancellation" of allocation of land to both Petronet LNG and ONGC saying it is "against the law".

The letter to principal secretary, revenue, says, "The 50 ha land which has been given to Petronet LNG is government wasteland. The allocation of land to the PSU is illegal. The land is meant for common use of villagers. With the land having gone, villagers have been deprived of common facilities like school, grazing for cattle, playground for children, and village pond."

Patel said, "Despite the fact that the village sarpanch,Niruaben Jayantibhai Ahir, represented to the authorities concerned, including the mamlatdar and the authorities in the local Dahej GIDC estate, the government has refused to act. Therefore, I decided to act on behalf of the villagers, as the area is part of my assembly constituency." The village has apopulation of 1,400.

Both Ahmed Patel and Iqbal Patel hail from Bharuch. Legislator from minority-dominated Vagra, he is a long-time protege of the Congress president's advisor. He told TOI, "I have asked Petronet LNG to reject the land offered by the state government, but they have not responded positively so far." He said, he had also raised objection to ONGC, "encroaching" 6.44 ha of land in the vicinity of the village.

Patel, who handed over copies of his letters to TOI, said, "Big industrial units are being handed over prized land, acquired by the GIDC in Dahej region, at a very cheap rate. Cornering common village land is illegal. "

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