Land grabbing: APMC lodges complaint to remove illegal canteen

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Bhavnagar, Dec 24 (PTI) The Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Gujarat's Bhavnagar district has lodged a complaint under the new anti-land grabbing law against a man operating a canteen illegally inside the market premises, an official said on Thursday.

On receiving the complaint, a team led by assistant collector Pushp Lata visited the premises on Wednesday and submitted its report to collector Gaurang Makwana, the official said.

This is the first complaint in Bhavnagar under the stringent Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, which came into force last week and has a provision of a minimum of 10 years imprisonment, which can go up to 14 years.

The complaint, in the form of an application, was submitted to the collector's office by the APMC's vice chairman Chhotubha Gohil on December 22.

According to Gohil, one Chhatrapalsinh Parmar has forcibly occupied a piece of land inside the APMC premises and was operating a canteen there for the last 20 years.

'Although we served several notices to him to remove the structure and vacate our land, Parmar did not pay heed. He had even approached the High Court in the past to get a stay on our eviction notice,' Gohil said.

'Now, we are seeing a ray of hope with this new law against such elements. The best thing is that the onus to prove the ownership of the property is on the accused, not on the complainant,' he said.

Under the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, the aggrieved party needs to submit a complaint in the form of an application to a committee, headed by the district collector.

The committee will then appoint an officer to probe the matter and submit a report.

As per the Act, the committee will order the registration of an FIR against the accused if the complaint is found to be genuine. PTI COR PJT PD ARU ARU