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SDM appointed SAD candidate as mediator in dispute amid poll code

The meeting was to resolve a dispute over land acquisition for the Amritsar-Bathinda national highway.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Tarn Taran |
January 24, 2016 11:35:20 am

The Tarn Taran Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Anupreet Kaur allegedly appointed the SAD candidate for the Khadoor Sahib byelection, Ravinder Singh Brahmpura, as a mediator in a land dispute after the model code of conduct was imposed in the district.

The meeting, in which Ravinder was made mediator, was however held on January 19, a day before he was announced as the SAD candidate.

The meeting was to resolve a dispute over land acquisition for the Amritsar-Bathinda national highway. It involves 10 Dalits families of Aladinpur village, who have been sitting on a dharna outside Kaur’s office, demanding cash for their homes acquired for the highway.

Amar Singh, representing the Dalit families, alleged that Ravinder Barhampura, the Tarn Taran Planning Development Board chairman and the son of local MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, had even sat on the SDM’s chair. “Ravinder sat on the SDM’s chair while Anupreet Kaur sat in the adjoining chair”. SDM Kaur admitted that Ravinder was at the meeting. “He was there not as a leader but as a citizen. He had solved a similar dispute between families of Pidhi village and the local panchayat. He came in the hope that the families of Aladinpur would also agree,” Anupreet Kaur said.

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On the dharna, Kaur said, “These people have been living illegally on panchayat land for the last 30 to 35 years. We are supposed to give cash compensation to the owner and village panchayat is the owner in this case The panchayat had offered to provide them alternate land to construct homes but they want cash. But we cannot pay them legally,” Anupreet said. “On an average, agriculture land is acquired at Rs 70-80 lakh per acre. Commercial land is acquired at almost double the rate and residential plots have been acquired at around 1.10 to 20 crore per acre,” said Anupreet Kaur.

There have, however, been accusations of Anupreet Kaur allegedly favouring SAD, even by the party’s ally, the BJP. When the country’s Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi visited Amritsar on December 29 last year, the BJP’s Tarn Tarn president, Navreet Singh Shafipur, had handed him a written complaint, accusing SDM Kaur of having favoured SAD during the local bodies election last year.
Tarn Taran deputy commissioner B S Dhaliwal said, “I will look into the matter and see if the meeting was a violation of the code of conduct or not.”

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