Punjab minister slams LIP chief on land banks issue

Punjab minister slams LIP chief on land banks issue

Punjab minister Sunder Shyam Arora on Tuesday lashed out at Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) chief Simarjit Bains for "spreading misinformation" against the government over its decision to create land banks in rural areas to boost industrial development.

The Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had on December 2 given in-principle approval to amend the law for transfer of common village land in rural areas to the state's industry department for setting up industrial projects.

The cabinet also gave its nod to amend the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Rules, 1964 to create land banks.

The LIP has decided to launch a statewide stir against the government's decision from January 4.

Accusing Bains and his party of "spreading misinformation", Arora said: "The protest planned by LIP over the issue is a political stunt. Simarjit Bains is indulging in total falsehood and fabrication to mislead the people."

Bains had earlier announced that the LIP's 'Saadi Panchayat, Saadi Zameen' (our panchayat, our land) agitation will be launched from Bhamadi village near Khanna.

"The land belongs to panchayats and it is the only source of their income. The government doesn't have any right to deny the village bodies that," Bains had said.

Arora, however, pointed out that the scheme to create rural land banks was voluntary, and a matter of the panchayat's choice.

"If a Panchayat does choose to sell its land, it would be fully compensated for the same," he said, adding that panchayats will not be forced to sell their land.

In fact, the scheme will be limited to only a few areas, as there were not more than two-three rural pockets in the entire state which had enough land to develop proper industrial parks, he said.

Bains, he claimed, was either ignorant of even the basic facts about Punjab, or "is deliberately and mischievously choosing to ignore them to promote his vested political interests".

"The LIP has no interest in the development of the state, of which industrial growth is a critical component," the minister said.

"Punjab needs progress, our youth need jobs. But all that Bains is interested in, is promoting his political career,” said Arora, cautioning the people against being misled "by the deceitful claims and charges of leaders like these, who have no interest whatsoever in nurturing the state's growth and development." 

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