Op Likely Soon; Farmhouses Account For 80% Of EncroachmentsAmbika.Pandit@timesgroup.com
New Delhi: After Asola village, it is the turn of Bhatti village to face a crackdown on land sharks. An operation, expected shortly, may be of the same scale as in Asola because the affected public land measures approximately 200 acres and a survey has established that farmhouses account for nearly 80% of the encroachment.
The action is part of the clean-up that started after cases of fraudulent land deals involving public land came to light in Asola and a scrutiny of land records in Bhatti exposed the possibility of a similar manipulation of land records. The land records of all revenue villages in south Delhi is being scrutinised, and according to sources, in Bhatti officials are already in the process of issuing notices to violators following detailed mapping on the basis of the revenue records of each khasra to determine the encroachments.
The extent of encroachment in Bhatti is estimated to extend across 1,600 bighas, or 280 acres. This includes both forest and government land and encroachments exist in the form of luxurious farmhouses, social institutions and slums. To begin with, action is expected on about 200 acres where demarcation of government land is being carried out on the ground, sources said.
According to land revenue officials from the Saket sub-division, fraud of the kind seen in Asola has not shown up so far in Bhatti. In Asola, it was clear that the revenue department ground staff had connived with land sharks in the fraudulent deals. “In Bhatti, further investigations may yield more leads,” a source said.
Meanwhile, residents of Asola, where demolition was carried out on March 14, have reached out to the district authorities claiming that their properties consisted of was private land, and public land. Amjad Tak, district magistrate (South), has already had a detailed discussion with complainants. The sub-divisional magistrate (Saket) has now asked them to submit ownership proof, copies of sale deed, khasra girdawari, khatauni and jamabandi of land claimed they claim as theirs within seven days of April 9. Claimants also have to submit certified copies of the site plan issued by the revenue department.
In February, some cases in Asola had caught the eye of the Central Bureau of Investigation, and the agency had register FIRs. TOIhad reported on the nexus between the land mafia and lower revenue officials in Asola on February 15.
South district officials point that there are already stringent directions from the National Green Tribunal to carry out the demarcation of the entire forest and ridge land so they can be handed over to the forest department. In the backdrop of this order, the process of demarcation and identification of forest, gram sabha and ridge land began in south district in July 2017, and the exercise has been completed in Aya Nagar, Jonapur, Asola and Bhatti. Demarcation work is currently under way in Devli and Dera Mandi. The forest department has been handed over land in Aya Nagar and Jonapur, where fencing is being erected to protect against fresh encroachments. Fencing has begun in Asola too.