North Gazette News/ Shimla
With an objective to provide justice to the Pong Dam oustees, Himachal government may approach Supreme Court. This was disclosed by Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
The issue was raised in a meeting of the State Level Pong Dam Rehabilitation and Advisory Committee meeting held here today under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
He said that the Government of Himachal Pradesh wants to explore the last possibility by arranging a meeting with the Chairman of the high Power committee constituted for the purpose and the Rajasthan Government regarding re-habilitation of the oustees and if the Rajasthan Government shows its lackadaisical approach towards the issue, the State Government would approach the Supreme Court to get justice to the Pong dam oustees.
The Chief Minister said the Government was now not in a mood to have re-look on the issue as since 17 meetings (the last on February of this month) of the High powered committee were held and nothing concrete was coming out of it which shows the lack of positive approach on the part of the Rajasthan authorities to adhere to the tripartite agreement. He said that 1188 Murabas of land which was handed over to the oustees and later given to the people of Rajasthan should be looked into as the ruling of the Supreme Court. It should also be enquired that under which and whose discretion/ direction, the 1188 plots were given back to the Rajasthan people, he added.
Despite the ruling of the Apex court of the country which mentions that it will be the obligation of the Rajasthan Government to make available to the pong dam oustees an equivalent extent of irrigable land and the original oustees or alottee shall be put back in possession of the land allotted to him, the Rajasthan Government was not serious to solve the vexed issue and has shown its inability to re-locate the land to the pong dam oustees and remove the encroachers.
The Chief Minister suggested that even if the original allottee was not available as of today, his legal heir/heirs would be eligible for the compensation or use of ‘Poda Fund’ or for entering into appeal for the allotment of the plot of land in Rajasthan.
He said that it was rather disappointing that the Rajasthan Government was to give 15.625 acres of land to the Pong Dam oustees but the matter was pending since last many years.
The plea of the oustees to get the irrigated land reserved for them in Ganganagar and Anupgarh districts is not being heard and the Rajasthan government was offering them unfertile land without any facilities of roads, drinking water, education etc. at Mohangarh, Ramgarh & Nachna in Bikaner district and had failed to remove the encroachers who were hand-in-glove with the land mafia active in Rajasthan and luring the oustees.
“Despite the issues being raked up forcefully in the meetings it seems that the State Government has no option but to knock the doors of the Supreme Court again” said the Chief Minister, adding that a visit to Rajasthan in the month of January by the Revenue Minister and the senior officers will be a last attempt in this direction and if still the oustees don’t get Justice, the Himachal Government will file contempt with the apex court.
He said that the pending cases of left out oustees would be considered effectively.
He also declared that the ‘Poda Fund’, a special financial assistance from the corpus fund which was created from sale of land of the dam oustees be enhanced to rupees 30 thousand in case of marriage of the daughters of the oustees and 25 thousand for tying the nuptial knot of the sons.
It is worth mentioning that 75,268 acres of land was submerged in the Pong dam in which 226 villages were submerged completely and 113 villages were partially affected. The Pong dam is direct source of water for the Indira Gandhi Canal Project (IGNP) in Rajasthan. Out of the total 20722 displaced families, 16352 were found eligible for the allotment of land in Rajasthan.
Health and Revenue Minister Kaul Singh Thakur said that the only last resort was to make a last attempt by approaching the Rajasthan Government with the file and record. He said that if still the oustees were belittled then we are surely going to approach Supreme Court.
MPP & Power Minister Sujan Singh Pathania also criticized the way the issue was handled by the previous government in the State which took the oustees in as many as 23 buses and dropped them to choose a land in the infertile belt of Rajasthan without any proper arrangements.
Tarun Shridhar, Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue, PC Dhiman, ACS, Education, SKBS Negi, Principal Secretary MPP and Power, C. Paulrasu, Deputy Commissioner, Kangra and the other non-official members of the State Level committee for rehabilitation of oustees were also present in the meeting.