On Wednesday, January 30, Saraswati Vidya Mandir, which is affiliated to the RSS, was sanctioned to be provided with 17861.54 sq m of land in Nabha area in the heart of Shimla city by the Shimla Municipal Corporation.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Himachal Pradesh has claimed that the BJP government and Municipal Corporation in Shimla city and other places of the state is favouring the RSS and related institutions. They have demanded that the wealth of the people of the state should not be looted in such a way, and these decisions should be withdrawn immediately.
The CPI(M) has alleged that the state government has clearly cheated the residents of the city by giving away their property worth crores of rupees for personal gains. They further claimed that this decision has been taken while flouting the law and regulations as the Municipal Corporation of Shimla has been occupying the said land, and under section 157 of the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, any land can be sold or leased for any other work by way of an open auction only.
“But the BJP-ruled municipal corporation has clearly disregarded the law to ensure benefits to its personal interest. They have gone to an extent when the municipal officials also came under pressure and prepared this proposal in spite of it being forest land, and they placed the proposal in front of the Municipal Corporation. The Forest Act has also been totally deferred, and by taking such a step, the municipal corporation has ripped apart it’s responsibility of environmental protection into shreds,” said Sanjay Chauhan, former mayor and State Secretariat member, CPI(M).
He further said that since the BJP-ruled municipal corporation has come to power in Shimla City, they are neglecting public development and are working only towards meeting their personal and political interests.
Furthermore, ever since the BJP came to power in the Municipal Corporation and in the state, the RSS and its affiliated organisations have been given land worth crores of rupees at the cost of mere peanuts. Earlier too, 22669-88 sq. m land in Tuticandi in Shimla was approved for the RSS affiliated institution “Matri Vandana” and 257 sq. m land was sanctioned to Vivekananda institution in Nabha area after bringing down a government house on the land. Apart from this, 93 Bigha land in Sadhupul was given to Ramdev for the cost of mere peanuts.
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On one hand, the BJP state government and the Municipal Corporation by ignoring rules, is giving unfair benefits to their favourites by giving several bighas of land. On the other hand, the poor people and the farmers are being forced to continue their struggle for land for a long time. For many years, poor people were demanding only two biswa land in the urban area and only three biswa land in the rural areas for making houses. Meanwhile, poor farmers were demanding 5 bighas of land for earning their livelihood and the government has been hesitant towards that.
“And if they have captured a small portion of land, it was taken back in the name of illegal occupation of the forest and government land. While here many bighas of land in the middle of the city areas are being provided to make profits. This has shown the BJP government’s anti-poor face to everybody,” Sanjay Chauhan said.
The CPI(M) has demanded that the state government should immediately withdraw the decisions of granting land to the RSS and its related institutions and to bring these lands to the public interest and the proposal which was passed to give the forest land of their occupation by ignoring the law by Municipal Corporation Shimla should also be revoked. They have also demanded that the state government should decide to give at least 5 bigha land to the poor in the urban area to earn a living, while 2 biswa and 3 biswa land in urban and rural areas, respectively, to build houses.
“If the government does not implement these demands, then CPI(M) will mobilise the public against these anti-people’s decisions,” Chauhan added.