National Chronicle

Panchayats step in to solve disputes of migrants

migrant workers returning

Lucknow:  Village panchayats in Uttar Pradesh are now playing a major role in resolving property and other disputes that have emerged with migrant workers returning to their native villages.

In almost every village, there is some dispute or the other. The return of migrants to their homes is creating problems because the returnees are demanding their share in land and house. In some cases, the houses are small and unable to accommodate another family which is causing tension. Besides, there are other disputes like giving passage to neighbours or construction of drains.

“These problems are now being resolved by village panchayats that circumvent the issue from reaching the police station. This not only ensures quick disposal of complaints but also eases the pressure on the police,” said a senior police official.

In Kanpur Dehat, two disputes related to the return of migrants was also resolved last week through panchayat intervention.

“In one case, three brothers ganged up against the fourth, the youngest, who had returned from Surat after 9 years. They were unwilling to give him his share of land and said that they had tilled the land for years and would not part with it,” said Monu Kashyap, a panchayat member.

The village panchayat called the brothers and told them that legally, they were bound to give the brother his share of land.

“The panchayat told them that if the matter reached the police, they would land up behind the bars. Finally, they agreed and the fourth brother got his share of land,” said Akhtar Hussain, a local resident.

In another case, a returnee worker faced problems when his two brothers refused to let him stay with them in their ancestral two-room house.

The two brothers had five children and with their wives and one unmarried sister, there were already ten people sharing two rooms and, apparently, could not make room for the third brother his wife and child.

The matter reached the panchayat members who prevailed upon the two brothers to put up a shed outside their house and allow the brother to stay with them.

Several other disputes in villages in Sultanpur, Gonda, Jaunpur, Basti, Pratapgarh, Kanpur Dehat and Ayodhya have also been resolved by the panchayat in the past one month.

For instance, in Pratapgarh, a village panchayat solved a 22-year-old land dispute that had led to several clashes between the warring groups and three FIRs at the Fatanpur police station.

“It took more than six hours to resolve the matter but the dispute was finally settled and the entire village is happy about this,” said Ratan Lal, a local resident.

In another village in Bahraich district, the village panchayat made two families resolve a 12-year-old enmity that had led to three murders.

“We made the families sit together and discussed the futility of the enmity. We told them that both the families would continue to suffer if they did not reconcile. After four days, both agreed to call it quits and shook hands,” said Charan Das, a former village head.

He said that people were now willing to approach the panchayat to resolve disputes, mainly because of the lockdown.

“The courts are not yet working in the normal routine and the panchayat system seems to be working fine because it saves money and time,” he said.

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