The MCG has prepared a plan to compensate families that live within a radius of 300 metres around the IAF ammunition depot’s restricted zone. A senior official in the civic body said a Rs 4,900-crore compensation plan had been drafted to create a new 300-metre restricted area around depot and submitted the plan to the chief minister. The Punjab and Haryana high court has told the state government it will consider a proposal of reducing the restricted zone around the ammunition depot from the current 900 metres only if it undertook to remove all encroachments in a 300-metre area. The high court’s directions came after the defence ministry said it wanted a 300-metre area around depot completely encroachment-free before formally notifying a new restricted zone. The 900-metre restircted area around the IAF depot has seen large-scale encroachment over the years, with thousands of families now living there without access to basic amenities. “As per rules, there is no provision to rehabilitate those who encroach on defence land,” said a highly placed source in MCG.
“The only way out is to compensate such encroachers. This is the reason we have been asked to work out a compensation amount that to be paid to the 1,400 families that are presently residing in the 300-metre area, in case they are removed,” the source added. The MCG estimates around 50,000 people live within a 300-metre radius of the IAF depot. Based on the number of families, this works out to Rs 35 lakh for each family. “However, since MCG does not have this money and will never be able to pay this sort of compensation, the state government will have to pay this money.
We have submitted the compensation report to the state government and the final decision will be taken by the chief minister himself,” the MCG source said. Opposition parties have opposed this plan. “By offering this compensation, the BJP government is trying to adopt a divide and rule policy. I have been fighting this case in the high court and Supreme Court and our demand is that the entire safety zone should be removed. We will not allow this 300-metre restriction to be imposed at any cost,” said Congress councillor Gaje Singh Kablana. The next date of hearing is on November 17