Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 22
Acting on a petition filed in public interest alleging that the Beas had unnaturally changed its course by about 2 km resulting in loss of about 2,500 acres of cultivable land due to illegal mining and illegal extension of boundaries of a dera, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the state government to decide a representation in the matter.
The direction by the Bench headed by Justice Rajiv Sharma came after the petitioner, Lok Bhalai Insaf Welfare Society, stated that agriculturist and their families lost their livelihood following change in the course of the Beas “due to illegal mining being carried out in the riverbed and because of the activities undertaken by Dera Radha Swami Satsang Beas, wherein they are extracting sand from the river bed as well as extending the boundaries of the dera illegally”.
The petitioner added lands adjoining the Beas were facing flood-like situation time and again and “large tracts of lands were being lost to the Beas”. The matter was agitated before the authorities by the affected persons. Upon consideration of the demands raised, a joint inspection of flood protection works was carried out and a report was submitted in June 2005.
The petitioner submitted a perusal of the report would show that “due to illegal activities being carried out by the Dera Radha Swami Satsang Beas, the Beas has changed its course dramatically. The report suggested four remedial measures — grant of compensation, providing immediate protection during flood season to cultivable land by preventing soil erosion, executing flood protection works on permanent basis and construction of fresh revenue records of the baramadgi lands”.