An earthmover removes encroachment at Chota Govindpur on Saturday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, Feb. 8: Government plots worth Rs 1 crore were freed from encroachers during a massive demolition drive that kicked off in the steel city today.
The East Singhbhum district administration, which is carrying out the drive with help from police, pressed bulldozers into action to pull down boundary walls that had been constructed illegally at prime plots by land grabbers.
On the first day, the exercise started at two locations — Chota Govindpur near Telco and Gadra near Parsudih — around 1pm.
As many as 13 boundary walls built illegally across two acres at the twin sites were demolished during the three-hour crackdown led by Jamshedpur circle officer Prabhat Bhusan.
Personnel from respective police stations had joined in.
Two under-construction structures that had come up illegally at Chota Govindpur and Gadra were also razed. The drive will continue on Monday in Birsanagar, Mango and Baridih.
“The drive is being carried out after identification of encroached land with the help of government records available with the district administration. The topography makes it difficult to distinguish between tribal (riyati) and government land. While carrying out the demolition drive, we have to be careful as not to disturb land owned by tribals,” said circle officer Prabhat Bhusan.
The crackdown at Chota Govindpur progressed without any resistance as no one came forward to claim ownership of the plot.
However, at Gadra, nearly 100 women pelted stones at the earthmover.
The mob dispersed after intervention by police.
“Boundary walls on plots worth over Rs 1 crore were demolished today,” said an official who was part of the demolition squad.
District officials admitted that a nexus between the land mafia and tribals worked behind encroachment of government land in many places.
“It is apparent that land mafia (mostly non-tribals) are eyeing vacant government plots and raise boundary walls with an intention to sell them at high rates to gullible customers,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
“We have made a list of people who have built houses on the plots in question and notices will be sent to the owners under Bihar Public Land Encroachment Act, 1966, staying in different parts of the city and outskirts.
The demolition drive will be initiated only after an order is issued by the subdivisional court hearing the cases,” said the circle officer.
He further said that they were also preparing a list of non-tribals who had constructed houses on tribal land in violation of Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and cases would be lodged against them.