Sidhra residents call off strike: Govt assures compensation, inquiry into wrongdoings

TILAK MEHRA. Dated: 2/1/2013 11:43:48 PM

JAMMU, Feb 1: The residents of Sidhra on the outskirts of Jammu city today called off their two-day strike and lifted blockade of the Bye Pass of National Highway after assurances from the forest minister Mian Altaf that their grievances would be looked into and compensation would be provided to the victims, whose houses have been damaged in the anti-encroachment drive during the past two days.
The minister also assured the agitating people to look into their allegations of desecration of a religious places and books by some Jammu Development Authority (JDA) officials during the demolition drive and bring the culprits to book. The minister told the victims that the state government has constituted a committee which will look into the status of migrants living in make-shift hutments and concrete houses on merits and provide assistance to the sufferers.
After the meeting with 12-member committee constituted by residents of Sidhra with government to discuss the issues comprised NC Provincial President, Jammu, Devender Singh Rana, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma, DIG J P Singh and other senior officials.
Vehicular traffic resumed on highway after the assurance given by the state government after it remained blocked for many hours in the morning.
While addressing the protesters, Mian Altaf said, “three main issues were discussed in the meeting like compensation for damaged houses, inquiry to conducted by the government to identify the persons who were responsible for demolishing of religious places during the drive and the said land should be provided to them who are having electricity bill and water connection, Ration Cards and proof of around 20 years record of living on the land.” He said that a report would be submitted to the government by the committee members after proper verification.
He said that those who did not belong to the area would not get anything from the government and committee would also provide proper information about the persons about their staying period on the said land.
He said, “No minister will provide you state land or forest area and it which is against the law.”
Earlier, the drive was launched on Monday in which several houses including hundreds of make-shift houses were damaged over the encroached land. The protestors disputed the claims of the JDA of this land belonging to them and questioned the validity of the drive launched by the JDA.



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