Barely two-and-a-half months after the UT Estate Office and Land Acquisition Office (LAO) razed the illegal Marble Market in Dhanas,the squatters are back right under the nose of the authorities.
This is despite the fact that the team had given a months time to the encroachers to remove their wares,which include large marble sheets and other expensive stones,as removing them from the site would have led to losses for the traders.
However,the deadline to remove the stones expired in March. Now,a visit to the site reveals that instead of the permanent structures,which were removed at that time,most of the traders have now erected temporary sheds and continue to run their business from the same site,despite it being a violation.
Speaking with Chandigarh Newsline,UT Land Acquisition Officer Tilak Raj admitted,We have been getting such reports of encroachments in the area. This time,we will deal with them more sternly. Besides confiscating the marble slabs,we are also going to confiscate the machines used by the traders to cut marble. We will also get criminal cases lodged against the traders,as a provision under the Periphery Control Act.
In February,a joint team of official from both the departments and several police personnel had razed over 200 illegal structures,which had come up on the agricultural land and had got the name of second largest marble market in the region.
In fact,the drive was actually planned to be conducted in December 2012,but at that time the team managed to demolish only 25 illegal structures,after some local Congress leaders,including the Union Minister Pawan Bansals son stalled the drive.
On February 19,the drive was conducted and over 200 illegal structures were finally removed. In the past,traders had quoted trouble over non-payment of sales tax to the UT Excise and Taxation Department and were served notices by the department.