Asserting that his government would take all legislative and judicial remedies to protect the interests of the people, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered the constitution of a committee to evolve a comprehensive strategy in the light of the High Court order relating to the constructions in the Sukhna Lake catchment area.
“It is not viable to displace tens of thousands of people living in the constructions around the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh,” a government release quoted the Chief Minister as saying. He was chairing a high-level meeting to discuss the issue.
The Chief Minister asked Advocate General Atul Nanda to coordinate with his Haryana counterpart to ensure a formidable defence in response to the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to demolish the constructions in the Sukhna Lake catchment area.
Amarinder also directed the Chief Secretary to designate nodal officers from forests and local government departments to assist the AG office to prepare the state’s response in the court, said an official spokesperson after the meeting.
The statement added that the committee set up by the Chief Minister will be headed by Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar, with PSCM Tejveer Singh besides MP Anandpur Sahib Manish Tewari, MLAs Parminder Singh Pinki, Fatehjung Singh Bajwa, Kanwar Sandhu and Amandeep Singh as members. The committee has been mandated to evolve a consensus strategy in consultation with the Punjab AG office to decide the future course of action through the formulation of a multi-pronged strategy involving all stakeholders, including the state of Haryana.
Earlier, Advocate General Atul Nanda apprised Amarinder of various options available to the state for countering the High Court opinion in the matter. Taking part in the deliberations, Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari highlighted the law and order aspect of the judgment.
The meeting was attended by Advocate General Atul Nanda, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari, Ferozepur MLA Parminder Singh Pinki, Kadian MLA Fatehjung Singh Bajwa, Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu, ACS Forests Ravneet Kaur, ACS Local Government Sanjay Kumar, Principal Secretary Housing Sarvjit Singh and Director Town & Planning Kavita Singh. The residents’ association was represented by Amandeep Singh.
From politicians to bureaucrats, Kansal attracted many VIPs
WITH THE Punjab and Haryana High Court ordering demolition of the constructions in Sukhna catchment area, people who have built their houses in the vicinity of the Sukhna are in a state of confusion about their next step. The area is a hit not only with the service class people but also many VIPs who own houses and plots at Kansal village.
Politicians and retired bureaucrats too have built their houses in the area. Proximity to the northern sectors of Chandigarh near the Sukhna Lake and land available at throwaway rates has made it a much favoured destination for many.
Apart from Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu, Congress MLA from Ferozepur Parminder Singh Pinki, former Punjab education minister Sikander Singh Maluka, former Punjab Congress chief Santokh Singh Randhawa’s family, former IPS officer R P Singh and D P Reddy have their houses in the area.
Interestingly, both Sandhu and Pinki are part of the committee formed by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday to evolve a comprehensive strategy in the light of the High Court order relating to the constructions in the Sukhna Lake catchment area.
Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, Kharar MLA Sandhu said his house won’t be affected by the decision but he is concerned about the entire area. He said that until 2010 when the zonal planning of the area was done, there was confusion about the catchment area.
“The case was filed in the High Court in 2009. In 2010, the zonal planning of the area was carried out which classified residential, forest and agricultural areas. People had constructed their houses in the residential areas but in 2019 the court made it clear that this area too was in the catchment area,” he added.
Asked how the registration of the plots was done when the court had banned the process, Sandhu said that in 2011, the Punjab and Haryana High Court banned the registration in the area but people who had bought the plots earlier were able to get them registered.
He said, “In 2011, around 500 people submitted their building plans with the Nayagaon Municipal Council, but the plans were not approved.
Many people built their houses assuming that the area did not fall in the catchment area.”
Around 50 people got their building plans approved before 2010. In 2010 again, 150 people applied for the approval of their building plans and
also paid the fees as per the sizes of their plots but their plans were not approved.
Harjot Singh Oberoi, president of Kansal Residents’ Protection of Rights Association, said people are confused as they don’t know whether their houses will be demolished. “We are looking at legal options and will soon decide the next course of action,” he added.
— JAGDEEP SINGH DEEP
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