In a shocking fraud committed in connivance with revenue officials, the Indian Air Force’s emergency airfield (Jahaz Ground) in Ferozepur Cantonment has been sold off to private persons.
Spread over 15 acres and worth several crores of rupees, the airfield is a part of the 982 acres of prime land acquired by the British government in 1939 for use by the Royal Air Force during World War II.
Later, the Indian Air Force used the same airfield in the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars. The vast Airfield grounds were used for camouflaging weaponry.
Presently physical control of the ‘Jahaz Ground’ is with the Army, while operational and administrative control remains with the IAF’s Halwara air base authorities in Ludhiana district.
In 1997, Usha Ansal, now a resident of Delhi sold off the 15-acre airfield to five private persons using a general power of attorney (GPA) executed by her brother-in-law Madan Mohan Lal who earlier resided in Ferozepur. But Lal died in 1991. Hence, the GPA became infructuous the same year and could not be used for any transaction.
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In 1964 during Lal Bahadur Shastri’s government, a scheme was launched to appoint crop managers on all vacant lands in the Cantonment areas in the country to increase foodgrain production when India faced a food crisis in the 60s. The crop managers were required to cultivate the land and pass over foodgrain to the central government.
Madan Mohan Lal and his brother Tek Chand were appointed crop managers for 15 acres in Ferozepur Cantt. But the scheme was discontinued after the green revolution, and all crop managers of 982 acres handed over the land to the Army.
Though the revenue records, including the ‘Jamabandi’ clearly mention the Army owned the land, the then sub-registrar ignored the crucial document while registering the sale deeds executed in 1997.
If you’re curious to delve deeper into the topic, read more about it here.