Kot in a quandary as firm discusses land

Villagers fear authorities might help company acquire land through consolidation

The residents of Kot village in the foothills of Aravalis here are a worried lot. A large chunk of ‘Shamlaat’ (common) land in their village has been bought over by a company associated with an influential yoga guru and they now fear that the district administration may act hand in glove with the company to help it acquire premium land through consolidation process.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera had on Saturday alleged that nearly 400 acres of prohibited land had been acquired by the company in Kot village and demanded a probe into the alleged land scam.

Kot sarpanch Mundresh Devi’s husband Kesar alleged that the villagers were completely left out of the consolidation process initiated by the district administration on February 1 and the entire exercise was being carried out in a “hush-hush manner ostensibly to help the company”.

Villagers left out

He added that the consolidation process must be carried out in consultation with the villagers and the panchayat members since they were the most important stakeholders. “Usually, a committee is constituted to carry out the consolidation in consultation with the villagers and the panchayat. The value of the land is also fixed. It has been more than four months since the consolidation started but the villagers have not heard anything on this from the administration,” said Nambardar Sarda Ram. Of the total 3,184 acre land of the village, 2,926 acre is Shamlaat land. The company mostly owns ‘Gair Mumkin Pahar’ (uncultivable wasteland), but Mr. Kesar expressed fear that the district administration might allot cultivable land to it in return for the mountain terrain through the consolidation process. “The cultivable land has far higher market value than the mountain terrain,” said Mr. Kesar.

The villagers complained that the panchayat did not have land for a school, ponds and a community centre, but the district administration did not ask them about their need during the consolidation process. “Most of the villagers rear cattle and sell milk. But there is not enough land left for cattle grazing,” said Satya, another villager.

Mr. Kesar alleged that the consolidation process was being carried out in haste, even before the ownership of the Shamlaat land was settled. “The case for settling the title of the land is still pending in the court of Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad. He did not give a date for fresh hearing in the matter after January 29 and instead initiated the consolidation process on February 1,” said Mr. Kesar.

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