For an alternate passage for Kartarpur Corridor project, Punjab government has transferred in the name of Land Ports Authority of India a chunk of land which is not encumbrances free.
The land, located between barbed fencing and zero line in the jurisdiction of Pakhoke village, is to be used for making an alternate passage to Pakistan with the latter expressing its inability to complete the bridge on their side by the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November, said a government functionary.
Through an order recently, Punjab Financial Commissioner Revenue KBS Sidhu transferred the 21 kanal of land, which includes land against which a loan was taken by a private individual from Oriental Bank of Commerce, Shukarpura branch, Batala. The loan as of now remains outstanding as per bank officials.
The order by Sidhu noted that the decision as to who will make payment for the land pledged with bank be taken later.
Sidhu was not available for comment. Two different individuals were in possession of the government land in equal parts through a conveyance deed and pledged their chunks of land for an amount of Rs 15 lakh respectively in May 2012 and October 25, 2012 to Oriental Bank of Commerce Shukarpura branch Batala. Citing a Supreme Court order dating back to January 2011 where it declared invalid the policy to transfer government land to “unauthorised cultivators”, Punjab cancelled the conveyance deed in December 2013, making the state owner and the possessor of the land again.
Subsequently, one of the two individuals paid back Rs 15 lakh to the bank and was issued the no objection certificate. However, the chunk against which second individual had taken Rs 15 lakh is yet to pay back the full amount to the bank.
Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujjwal, sources said, took up the matter with Punjab Financial Commissioner Revenue for the transfer of the land to LPAI last month…Gurdaspur DC apprised Sidhu in a written communication that,”LPAI Project Director had told that as Pakistan government is presently not constructing bridge on opposite side, hence the government land across border is urgently required keeping in view of the alternate alignment of movement of pilgrims as the bridge constructed by NHAI authorities may not be functional on November 12, 2019. It is requested to expedite the transfer of land across to LPAI for developing alternative route at the earliest.”
Dera Baba Nanak Sub Divisional magistrate Gursimran Singh, when reached on phone, said that the NHAI bridge would be ready in time and the alternate passage would be a stopgap arrangement to connect to a temporary passage on Pakistani side till the latter constructs the bridge on their side.
Oriental Bank of Commerce, Shukarpura, branch manager Shahbaz Singh said the along with the individual who was the initial borrower, all others in whose names the land was transferred will become a party in the bank recovery proceedings till the time outstanding dues were not cleared.