Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Evict and arrest Government land Encroachers: Lok Satta Party

The Lok Satta Party today demanded the promulgation of an Ordinance to treat Government land grabbing as an organized crime and award swift and deterrent punishment to encroachers.

Talking to the media, party spokespersons Mr. V.Laxman Balaji, Mrs. Ravula Jhansi Laxmi and Mr. Enugu Rama Rao said that Government lands, ‘nalas’ and lake beds have been occupied by anti social elements with the backing of political parties and corrupt officials with impunity for a number of years. All of them whether they belong to the Telangana, Rayalaseema or Coastal Andhra region or the Congress or the TDP or any other party including the Lok Satta should be straightway thrown out of such lands, arrested and prosecuted.

The Lok Satta Party leaders pointed out that it had come up with the slogan, ‘Seeti bajao, city bachao’ (Blow the whistle and save the city) keeping in mind the growing menace of land grabbing. Tragically, the Government itself does not know or refuses to acknowledge the magnitude of the problem.

According to information obtained under the Right to Information Act by Mr. C. V. L. Narasimha Rao, Convener of the party’s Legal Cell, as many as 2710 land grabbing cases pertaining to Hyderabad district have been pending in city civil courts, the High Court and the Supreme Court.

Mr. Narasimha Rao says that the Government filed even these cases following persistent public demands. Apparently, successive Governments have chosen to turn a Nelson’s eye to those encroachments which did not attract public attention. Again, these cases pertain only to Hyderabad district and do not cover those in Ranga Reddy district. The encroachments run into thousands, he adds.

The Lok Satta spokespersons demanded that the Government publish maps of all Government lands in the GHMC area and put them on the Internet. It called for the constitution of special machinery headed by a collector-level officer for the entire city and one deputy collector-level officer for every circle and with requisite staff like surveyors to undertake a comprehensive survey. A rapid action force of at least one battalion strength should be constituted with facilities in terms of equipment, mobility and communication to go into action at lightning speed to prevent and arrest Government land encroachments.

The ordinance proposed by the Lok Satta Party on the lines of the Maharashtra Act against organized crime will go a long way in saving the city from land encroachers. The Government could, however, regularize all unobjectionable encroachments of the poor homeless families, the party leaders added.

Referring to allegations against Lok Satta President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan repeated by TDP spokesman Revantha Reddy, the Lok Satta leaders said they were not interested in engaging themselves in a slanging match with the TDP through the media. The Lok Satta Party had challenged the TDP to prove its allegations by agreeing to a dignified and open debate in the presence of. reputed media representatives.

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