CHANDIGARH, India: The Punjab government proposes to acquire 126 religious properties falling within 30 meters of the Golden Temple complex.

An official notification to this effect is likely to be issued tonight or tomorrow morning. Under the clearance scheme, these religious properties are to be retained and maintained under the overall beautification scheme.

Of them, 64 belong to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

Meanwhile, project director, J.S. Kessar told newsmen in Amritsar that the government would not hesitate to invoke the “Land Acquisition Act”, (Section 17) against any person residing in the thirty meter periphery of the Golden Temple who did not give up the possession of his property willingly.

He said the government expected cooperation from the public and hoped that such an extreme step would not have to be resorted to.

Mr. Kessar said possession had been taken of twelve of the 35 buildings handed over to the government while the other buildings were still occupied by tenants. These tenants first had to be provided residential sites, he said.

Mr. Kessar said demolition « work was in “full swing” in four buildings and was progressing “steadily” in the others. Commenting on the show pace of the work he said this was due to shortage of labor and the congested topography of the area. “If we run short of time, we will not hesitate to apply mechanical processes’, he said.

Mr. Kessar said allotment “of shopping sites would start tomorrow after all preliminary verifications were completed. So far 247 forms for allotment of shopping sites had been accepted.

He said the demolition of the government run infectious diseases hospital near the bus stand began today. This area, when cleared, would accommodate a full-fledged marketing complex where shops would be allotted to those being uprooted under the temple beautification plan.

The hospital would continue to function at another building in the city which was part of the main hospital. There are at present 562 buildings in the 30metre beautification belt, he said.

Commenting on the lack of “basic facilities” in the new residential sites for the uprooted families, Mr. Kessar said that water supply and sewerage were the main problems.

The sewerage department and the housing board had already been directed to look into these problems, he said. “We will keep abreast of the day-to-day problems of the people”.

To another question Mr. Kessar said there was no problem of funds.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 1, 1988