Jalandhar: Even as Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal directed the state government officials to provide five-marla plots to landless Dalit labourers, the latter have been forced to stage protests to claim their share of land for the past one month. It has been over a month since the landless labourers have been running from pillar to post to get the possession of their five-marla plots, but to no avail. Now, they have decided to hold a protest at Nakodar during CM’s Sangat Darshan program on Thursday. Though the landless labourers restarted the protest a month ago but it was learnt that as many as 12,000 applications of such ‘beneficaries’ were gathering dust in the administration for the past two years.
Tarsem Peter, the state president of Pendu Mazdoor Union (PMU) said, “On April 1, Badal after holding a meeting with the dalit labourers had directed the officials to provide five-marla plots to the landless labourers. It has been over a month that hapless labourers were holding protests in their respective villages. Not just the officials but the police was least bothered to address our demands, which were already approved by the CM.” Kashmir Ghughshor, the district president of PMU who was leading the protest of the dalit landless labourers, said that though Deputy Commissioner Kamal Kishor Yadav assured that possession of the plots would be provided, but no concrete action had taken place. At present, labourers from 150 villages namely Bilga, Syaniwal, Dyalpur, Makhu Nangal, Dugri, Bath Kalan, Udhowal, Ismialpur, Sadakpur, Sarangwal, Muridpur to name a few had been sitting on protest.
This despite the fact that an all party 13-member committee headed by Justice (retd) Nirmal Singh was constituted in 2014-15, which presented its report in the Vidhan Sabha on March 25, 2015. The report cited that Rural Development and Panchayat department should ensure that 1/3rd of the land, which was ‘reserved’ for the dalits and the landless labourers was provided to them. In the report, it was clearly pointed out that at many places, auction of plots was technically done in the name of Scheduled Caste (SC) land holders but later persons from general category were found to have been doing farming on such lands. A special mention was also made in the report that the Punjab government should strictly ensure that ‘possession’ of plots was made to the dalit beneficiaries while those who were yet to get the plots should get the ‘intkal’ done in their names. “As per the Punjab government rules, 1/3rd of land in panchayat was meant to be reserved for the dalits and landless labourers. But, no implementation was being done in letter and spirit”, Peter maintained.
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