Queen mother effect: officials to look into land dispute

February 21st, 2008 - 5:02 pm ICT by admin  

Jaipur, Feb 21 (IANS) The local administration has assured the former queen mother of Jaipur Gayatri Devi they will look into the matter of a disputed plot in front of her palace Moti Doongri. The assurance came after Rajmata Gayatri Devi, once considered among the world’s most beautiful women, sat in protest for 15-20 minutes Wednesday to demand construction of a public park on about 18,000 sq yards of land under dispute.

“We have been assured by the administration that they will look into it,” Jagdamba, a local resident said.

Moti Doongri, which is shaped like a Scottish castle, is an important hilltop landmark on the southern horizon of the Rajasthan capital.

The public protest by the queen mother, now 89, came after her repeated requests to various government departments failed to evoke a response.

The palace is of both historical importance and sentimental value to Gayatri Devi as Moti Doongri used to be her home before she shifted to Lily Pool, about a kilometre away.

“I had complained to the police that a boundary wall was being illegally built on land belonging to the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh Benevolent Trust. A land mafia was in operation in the area with the connivance of some government officials,” she alleged.

“The land was illegally sold in parts as residential plots by local land mafia.

“The Trust initially had 33,000 sq yards of land near Moti Doongri fort. After establishing two residential colonies, the trust was left with 18,000 sq yards. The trust now wanted to construct an exclusive public park on the remaining land for the people but the land has already been sold in parts by the local land mafia,” she said.

Gayatri Devi said land was handed over to state government for developing a public park but the government has taken no action so far.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was informed about the illegal encroachment.

“We will now see what the administration does. Only after that will we decide our future course of action. But in no case will we allow this mafia to take control of the land,” local resident Savitri told IANS here Thursday.

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