Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 26
The alleged payment of over Rs300 cr as compensation to certain individuals for shamlat land in Panchkula district acquired by the Haryana Urban Estates Department for HUDA has come under the vigilance scanner.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today ordered a vigilance inquiry to investigate the irregularities committed in the disbursement of compensation for shamlat land (common land) of various villages from 1998 to 2013. The vigilance inquiry would establish whether the shareholders of shamilat land were entitled to compensation or not, official sources said.
The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) seems to have acted on a report sent by Sanjeev Verma, Zonal Administration, Haryana Urban Development Authority-cum-Additional Director, Urban Estate (ADUE), Panchkula, who reported that the payment of compensation in respect of shamilat land have been made to individuals without any order from the Collector (Deputy Commissioner) under the Village Common Land Act from 1998 to 2013. The villages in question included Nada, Maheshpur, Chowki, Saketri, Rampur Siyudi, Rajjipur, Surajpur, Manakpur, Nanakchand, Manakpur Thakurdas, Lohgarh, Dhamala, Firojpur, Rattpur, Islamnagar, Bhagwanpur and Nangal Sodian.
The total acquired shamilat land failing in these 18 villages works out to 375.88 acre and the compensation thereof amounts to Rs373.15 crore. A compensation of Rs57.74 crore is yet to be disbursed.
As per the report, there is violation of the provision contained in Section 13-A of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961, as the District Collector, who is competent to adjudicate the claim in a suit filed before him pertaining to right, title or interest in any land or other immovable property vested or deemed to have been invested in Panchayat under this Act.
As per Rule 71 of the Punjab Land Revenue Rules "List of co-shares shall not be prepared and supplied without the previous sanction of the Collector unless required in connection with a revenue civil or criminal case."
The ADUE said in his report that compensation and enhanced compensation had wrongly been paid to the individual shareholders without any order from the Collector under the Village Common Land Act. As per many judgements passed by the High Court and Supreme Court wherein it has been held that shamlat land vests in gram sabha/gram panchayat, the compensation or enhanced compensation should have gone to the respective gram panchayat or Municipal Corporation, Panchkula, or the matter should have been referred to concerned courts.
Verma stumbled on the alleged scam when he was reportedly going through 80 pending applications for the allotment of plots under the oustees' policy against shamlat land. Vivek Atray, Panchkula DC, later ordered an inquiry into the matter.
Public lands, private gains
- Individuals allegedly pocketed compensation money for acquired shamlat land
- The total acquired shamlat land in 18 villages is 375.88 acres
- The total compensation amount Rs.373.15 crore; Rs.57.74 crore yet to be disbursed.
- Payment of compensation for shamlat land allegedly made to the individuals without any order from the Collector under the Village Common Land Act from 1998 to 2013.