Punjab forest department bulldozer.

The Punjab Forest Department after filing the FIR against habitual offender Colonel Baljit Singh Sandhu, owner of Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS), bulldozed the illegally constructed 45 farmhouses in Nayagaon on Friday. This happened after The Daily Guardian Review published a story reporting illegal construction.

Punjab Forest Department sent three JCBs to the spot to flatten all illegal construction over Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) preserved forest land.

Just a few days after the Mirzapur road encroachment complaint action, Punjab Forest Department again received a complaint that in Nayagaon, there have been huge changes in the land demographics over the hundreds of acres of land by Col Sandhu. He has been a habitual offender in changing demographics of the PLPA preserved forest land earlier on and many cases are already in service against him.

From Masol Road to village Tanda, Col Sandhu has flattened the hillocks, axed many trees, and constructed a path towards village Tanda. In Nayagaon, on 9 May, the police had taken action on the allegation of illegally cutting mountains and making 45 big farmhouses and selling them at high prices. In this case, on the complaint of the Forest Department, a case was registered against Col Sandhu and Tarsem Singh, residents of village Nada, on the complaint of Forest Range Officer Ranjodh Singh.

On behalf of the Divisional Officer of the Forest Department of Mohali, a written complaint was given to the police through a letter-number 32, that Col Sandhu had illegally occupied the closed lands under PLPA-1900 and arbitrarily got the lands constructed. As per Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Punjab Parveen Kumar IFS, it is illegal to change the demographics of PLPA land and further construct commercially over this land. Legal action was required for what Col Sandhu did.

It is alleged that in this case, the mountains were levelled by cutting them with JCB. Around 30 hectares of natural forest land and about 500 trees have been uprooted. It was alleged that the forest department team was not allowed inside to inspect the land and the team suffered misbehaviour by the offender. Government work was obstructed. Now the forest department team is being continuously threatened by the accused. On which the accused Col Sandhu and Tarsem Singh were found to be in violation of Section 4/5 FCA 1980 of PLPA 1900, IFA – 1927, and the directions of CWP 202- 1995 dated 12 December 1996 of the Supreme Court. The Nayagaon police have registered a case against both the accused under sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Act. Nayagaon is situated in the Shivalik foothills. Col Sandhu did not answer the writer’s calls. On 9 May, based on a letter written by Singh to Nayagaon Police suggested to add sections 186 and 353 of IPC, sections 9,39 of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and Environment Protection Act 1986, and Mines and Minerals Act 1957 in the FIR against the accused.