Encroachments upon land reserved for common purposes in villages are on the increase in rural areas. Almost every village in Punjab has more than one pond for the purpose of watering the animals, drainage of rainwater and used water and for digging of moistened earth for plastering adobe houses. This common facility has been there in every village since centuries. Now, however, the land mafias are occupying these ponds and raising illegal buildings thereon in connivance with the officials of the revenue department. Such encroachments have blocked passages of free flow in the drainage system of villages. Resultantly drainage passages overflow and common streets of villages look like ponds. During rain season, streets are flooded and water enters the houses, causing intolerable nuisance to poor villagers. Encroachments upon ponds have deprived animals of watering facility. And the common man of the village has lost the facility of taking out moistened earth for plastering during repairs of the adobe houses. This moistened earth was also used for other domestic purposes like making kiln fireplaces and large earthen pots for storing grains etc. The provincial government is urged to take notice of this common nuisance being faced by villagers and restore ponds in the villages by removing illegal encroachments. -GANGLY KHAN, Mandi Bahauddin, via e-mail, June 18.