Special Correspondent

Teams from Rajasthan, Himachal arrive at a consensus on allotment of land to all the oustees holding eligibility certificates issued by the H.P. Govt.

  • Rajasthan Government had agreed to pay compensation and allot land to oustees of Pong dam in 1960's
  • A Task Force to look into the disposal of criminal cases lodged by some of the oustees
  • Oustees who had not applied for allotment of land so far will get three months to move fresh applications

    JAIPUR: Resolution of the decades-old vexed issue of rehabilitation of oustees of Pong dam in Himachal Pradesh -- which is the main source of water in Indira Gandhi Canal in Rajasthan -- is in the offing with the two States agreeing to sign a memorandum of understanding within a fortnight.

    A Cabinet Committee of Rajasthan and a high-level team from Himachal Pradesh, which met in New Delhi on Monday, arrived at a consensus on reconsideration of allotment of land to all the oustees holding eligibility certificates issued by the Himachal Government.

    The Rajasthan Government had agreed to pay compensation and allot land at concessional prices to oustees following the construction of Pong dam in 1960's.

    Land was allotted to 9,196 of the 10,027 oustees who had applied, while nearly 830 applications were rejected.

    Public Works Department Minister Rajendra Rathore, who led the Cabinet Committee, said 1,188 oustees had sold their land plots in Sriganganagar district to local farmers. The Supreme Court later struck down the transactions and vested the title of land in the Rajasthan Government.

    Representatives of the two States attending the marathon meeting in the National Capital agreed that the 341 oustees, whose allotment was restored after an agreement in 1981, would be given possession of land in the first stage of Indira Gandhi Canal Project within the next three months.

    The Himachal team, led by Revenue Minister Sat Mahajan, agreed to a suggestion for appointment of a Task Force to look into the disposal of criminal cases lodged by some of the oustees. The 50 oustees, who could not get possession of land despite their allotments restored by special courts, will now be given possession.

    Mr. Rathore said the 1,641 oustees who had not applied for allotment of land so far would be given another opportunity to move fresh applications within three months.

    However, the cases of 474 oustees who have not obtained eligibility certificates will not be considered.

    While 341-murabba land in the first phase of Indira Gandhi Canal Project will be reserved for the Pong oustees, the land to the remaining claimants will be allotted with irrigation facilities at Ramgarh, Nachna and Mohangarh in Jaisalmer district in the project's second phase.

    A ministerial-level delegation had earlier visited Shimla and held several rounds of negotiations with the Himachal Pradesh officials to sort out the issue. Mr. Rathore said the idea of an MoU to be signed by the Chief Ministers of both the States had evolved during these interactions and was given the final shape in the Delhi meeting on Monday.