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Monday, September 27, 2021

Haryana’s flip flop on consolidation in Kot village – 3,184 acres once again denotified

Villagers claim government is repeatedly trying to favour certain influential persons

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
Updated: July 29, 2021 7:12:59 am
It was nine years ago, in 2011, when then director general, Consolidation of Land Holdings, Ashok Khemka had withdrawn the consolidation proceedings on the same chunk of land. (Representational/Express Photo)

THE HARYANA government has once again withdrawn the consolidation proceedings of 3,184 acres in Faridabad district’s Kot village. Several acres in Kot have been wrongly alienated and partitioned without their titles being adjudicated.

Villagers allege that the state government has been repeatedly attempting to initiate consolidation proceedings in Kot to favour certain influential persons including a few former Congress ministers and their kin, who have built farmhouses on forest land, as well as the Patanjali Group, which is doing farming on other chunks of land in the same area.

In the recent order issued by the incumbent director, Consolidation of Land Holdings, Amna Tasneem, she wrote: “An area of 3,184 acres in village Kot bearing Hadbast no. 16, district Faridabad, was notified under sub-section (1) of section 14 of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Fragmentation) Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the Consolidation Act), vide notification no. EA4/432 dated February 1, 2019, for the consolidation of holdings for the purpose of better cultivation of land therein by the then director, Consolidation of Holdings, Haryana as per the delegation vide Punjab government notification no. 3/35-D-5G/3155 dated July 22, 1950.”

“The total area of 3,184 acres notified for consolidation in village Kot, an area of 2,565 acres is ‘Gair Mumkin Pahaar’. In case the consolidation exercise of the entire village including ‘Gair Mumkin Pahaar’ is carried out, it would wrongly benefit certain influential outsider-purchasers of ‘Gair Mumkin Pahaar’. The aims and objects of the Consolidation Act is to consolidate agricultural land holdings for the betterment of land for common purposes of the village. The object of the Consolidation Act would be defeated in case ‘Gair Mumkin Pahaar’ is included in the scheme of consolidation,” it further said.

Referring to instructions she received from Haryana’s Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Sanjeev Kaushal, she recorded in the order: “As per Finance Commissioner, Revenue and Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management)’s memo dated April 16, 2021, the notification dated February 1, 2019, notifying the entire area of 3,184 acres in village Kot…under section 14(1) of the Consolidation Act is defective and defeats the objectives of the Consolidation Act and hence the same is hereby withdrawn.”

In April, Kaushal had written to Tasneem, asking her to withdraw the consolidation proceedings order immediately.

Referring to the “admitted fact” that Shamilat Deh (village common land) in the revenue estate of Kot “have been alienated and partitioned without getting the title adjudicated”, Kaushal had added that “it was not justifiable to proceed with the consolidation proceedings till the pending matter of adjudication of Shamilat Deh lands is decided finally by the district collector, Faridabad”.

It was nine years ago, in 2011, when then director general, Consolidation of Land Holdings, Ashok Khemka had withdrawn the consolidation proceedings on the same chunk of land. The same, however, was reversed in February 2019 and the land was notified for consolidation proceedings.

Chetan Aggarwal, an environment activist, told The Indian Express that this was the fourth time that Haryana has changed its order on consolidation proceedings in the last nine years. “As such, the matter regarding village common lands is pending in the court of district collector, Faridabad. Yet, the government was earlier bent on notifying the land for consolidation proceedings so that certain influential persons stand benefited from that. And, it is good that they have now withdrawn it,” he added.

Explaining the significance of consolidation, a senior officer said, “If the consolidation proceedings are allowed to go on, it would help certain influential people (who already might have purchased land shares) to get the sweetest spots on the Gair Mumkin Pahaar partitioned in their name. All thanks to the state government’s recently enacted Punjab Land Revenue (Haryana Amendment) Act, the co-sharers on the land shall get the prime chunks transferred in their name. However, if the consolidation is stopped, the land is saved. As such, the land’s titles are pending final verdict in the court of district collector and thus the consolidation should not happen.”

“Ramdev’s Patanjali Group had been doing farming on approximately 100 acres in the village. But there is a strong move by the state government to usurp the land of Shamilat Deh and forest land and give that to Patanjali Group’s companies as well. This group’s frontmen had already taken over several acres of land through the General Power of Attorney from the villagers. Now, if the consolidation proceedings had carried on, those lands would also have gone straight to the group’s companies. Certain Congress leaders, former ministers of the state government and their kin too have constructed farmhouses on these lands. Even during the lockdown period in June, the district administration had started the consolidation proceedings of the ‘Gair Mumkin Pahaar’. That was the time, we raised this issue with the prime minister, home minister, chief justice and Haryana chief minister. The villagers got together and raised strong objections against the consolidation proceedings. Eventually, these were dropped,” Kesar Singh, another environment activist, whose wife Mundresh Devi is the villager sarpanch, told The Indian Express.

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