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After the Punjab government’s decision to denotify land acquired for construction of the SYL canal, farmers, unlike in the past, did not seem to be in a hurry to fill the canal. Instead, they demanded that the government transfer the land back in their names and hand over registration papers to them. A few of the affected farmers also slammed the SAD decision as nothing but a “political gimmick”.
On the ground at Inderpur village in Ropar district, about six kilometres of the canal had been filled. The villagers have now laid a road connecting the village with National Highway-21. They told Indian Express that they were not banking much on the Punjab government’s resolutions and would rather wait for a few days before deciding further course of action. Meanwhile, they demanded that if the government was genuinely serious about their concerns, they should be given registered deeds of their land.
Jasmer Singh, a former member of Inderpur village panchayat, said, “Though we are aware of the development, we are not taking any further step. We are waiting for some formal written documents that justify our ownership of the land.”
Around 40 acres of the village land were acquired for construction of the SYL canal. “In March, following a similar confrontation between the government and court, we filled up the canal on government’s instructions and a road was constructed on it. This time, we are not going to do anything till we get a written document. As such nobody – neither from the district administration nor the government – has approached us till date with any assurance. All that we have come to know is only through newspapers or news channels.”
Sucha Singh (64), another resident of the village, added that “merely denotifying the land shall not serve the purpose. Last time, some Akali leaders came to our village and we levelled the canal and paved the way which is now connecting our village to National Highway 21. That time, too, we had asked for legal documents. But, we did not get anything since the Akalis told us that the case was pending in Supreme Court. Now the SC has decided the case against us. We do not want any trouble”.