Wednesday, Date: Mar 22, 2023 Time: 10:54 am

Chandigarh periphery Farmhouse owners slapped notice

Chandigarh: Going after the rich and powerful violators of forest laws on the periphery of Chandigarh, the Punjab Forest Department has started issuing notices to the farmhouse owners, who have raised illegal structures in violation of the provisions of the Punjab Land Preservation (PLPA) Act, 1900, and the Forest Conservation Act,1980.
The department has identified two types of violations — those who have raised farmhouses in the areas delisted from the PLPA and another one where the structures are raised in the areas under the PLPA.
The violators include retired IAS, IPS officers, politicians and influential persons, who are running commercial activity from the farmhouses and resorts in clear violation of the Supreme Court orders on the land delisted from the PLPA.
After giving an opportunity to the farmhouse owners, the department will file cases under the PLPA in the designated court. To ascertain the nature of violations, the department is learnt to have identified near 120 constructions in Karoran, Nada, Parch, Jyanti Majri, Seonk, Nagal, Parol, Sultanpur, Siswan, Majra, Dulwan, Palanpur, Murzapur and Tarapur villages. The constructions are largely in forest areas delisted from the PLPA.
In the notices, it has been pointed out that land developers are illegally trying to level hillocks and selling land, which is prohibited under Sections 4 and 5 of the PLPA, to buyers under the garb of farmhouses.
Since the responsibility of regulating the areas delisted from the PLPA comes under the Housing and Local Government Departments, the Forest Department has written to the two departments to check violation in their areas.
The Supreme Court has directed the state to ensure that no commercial activity be allowed and such land should be used for bona fide agriculture use. But on the ground, blatant commercial activity is being carried by influential persons and no action against them is visible on the ground.
The areas delisted from forest areas run parallel to the forest areas on the periphery of Chandigarh. Besides, the areas fall within the eco-sensitive zone of the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary and comes under the purview of the Periphery Control Act.

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