DEHRADUN: Justice has finally been served for nearly 2,900 families who migrated from Pakistan to the city during Partition but have had to wait 68 years for property rights. The families, settled in the Prem Nagar area, will now be able to register their properties with the local administration.

The order was issued by Ravinath Raman, district magistrate for Dehradun, after a delegation from the families, accompanied by city Congress president Prithviraj Singh and cantonment board councillor Jitender Taneja met him regarding the long-standing matter.

"The families had settled at Prem Nagar, on what was property held by the district resettlement office, which came under the revenue department. They had sought ownership rights since then," said Raman, talking to TOI on Wednesday.

The process actually moved forward only in 2011, with the then principal secretary (revenue) directing the then district resettlement officer (DRO) to conduct a survey of the families to find their number and details about the land on which they had been living.

"On the basis of that survey, the families were supposed to deposit the cost of their land, as per the circle rate of November 2010. Around 10-15 people deposited the amount, but after this, the process came to a halt," the DM said, adding that he has directed the DRO, who is also the city magistrate, to revisit the survey and issue notice to each of the families to complete the registry process.

"The residents can raise any objections they have after the notice is issued, which would be duly addressed. They can then deposit the cost of their land, as per the circle rate of November 2010," the DM added.

Lalit Narayan Mishra, DRO, said that the entire process would take a long time as the list of families is exhaustive and the documentation has to be checked in detail. Therefore, no time limit has been fixed to cover all the families. "However, all the residents will be informed and whoever completes the procedure will be able to register their property," he added.

The development comes close on the heels of the Centre easing norms for Hindus from Pakistan and Afghanistan to own property in India, even before becoming Indian citizens, as reported by TOI on July 15. As for the families settled after Partition in Dehradun, the development comes as long-awaited but welcome news.

"Despite having the houses, they did not have any ownership rights, because of which they suffered on several counts," said city Congress president Prithviraj Singh. "Since the process has started, they can be said to have got justice at last," he added.

The residents, too, heaved a sigh of long-awaited relief. "We were not able to expand our houses, although our children grew up and had their own families and stay with us," said Sunil Kumar, a resident. "We also faced problems with water supply and electricity. Now all these issues will get solved with the DM's order."

Courtesy: Times Of India

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