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AAP minister bungles in Punjab, issues order to evict university from its own land

Punjab Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal

The exuberant Punjab Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal has landed himself in a major embarrassment after he wrongly ordered the eviction of Lovely Professional University (LPU) from a piece of land that he said belonged to the Hardaspura village panchayat in Kapurthala district while in fact, the panchayat did not have any land in its name.

The minister on June 3 after holding a meeting directed the specially constituted Enforcement Wing of the Department to dispossess LPU from the panchayat land though there was no warrant of possession which has to be issued by a revenue court. This private university is owned by Aam Aadmi Party's Rajya Sabha member Ashok Mittal who is also the chancellor of LPU.

Acting on the orders of the minister, District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO), Kapurthala, Harjinder Singh Sandhu asked Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) to advise the sarpanch of Hardaspura village to file a case against LPU forthwith in the quasi-judicial court of the DDPO to get possession of its land.

The move of the minister boomeranged today when the sarpanch of the village Mrs. Balwinder Kaur told indianarrative.com on the phone that the panchayat did not own even a single inch of land and the LPU did not come into the picture.

She further said that the village Gurdwara was gifted a piece of around 6 Kanal and 12 Marlas of agricultural land by a devout family which was given on a contract by the Gurdwara committee to one Ravinder Singh. The Gurdwara was earning a sum of over Rs 26,000 per annum from the said land.

The LPU management while refuting the minister's charge, has sought a public apology from Dhaliwal. The response of the minister could not be known as he did not take phone calls made by this reporter.

A senior officer of the panchayats department explained that before rushing to evict someone from illegal possession of government land a revenue court needed to issue a warrant of possession also called "dakhal." The department was bound to serve a prior notice to the concerned party informing it about the date of the department's action to dispossess it.

The AAP government has been going overboard publicising its drive to get Panchayati lands freed from illegal possession of influential people. It claims to have taken possession of 7,000 acres of land from illegal occupants in its four-month rule.