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Commercialization of residential areas goes unchecked

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Srinagar, July 20: Posh residential areas are fast turning into breeding grounds for unauthorized conversion
of residential properties for commercial purposes.
Housing colonies in Jammu and Srinagar cities were developed for residential purposes and no commercial
building permissions were accorded in these colonies other than the area earmarked for commercial activity
by the concerned authorities.
However sources said that majority of these housing colonies has acquired the status of more of a
commercial hub having big shopping centres of every type including sale and service of motor vehicles.
Sources said that besides many illegal structures have also sprouted up, there have been many such
instances in the recent past, with both the Municipal Corporations turning a blind eye to them. “In place of
sprawling bungalows, dozens of fresh commercial spaces are seen rearing their heads in various parts of the
twin cities,” sources maintained
Sources said that though the residential areas of Gandhi Nagar, Shastri Nagar, Sainik colonies, Channi
Himmat and Trikuta Nagar in Jammu city have been constructed under planned colonies developed by
Jammu and Kashmir Housing Board, J&K Sainik Cooperative Society, Jammu Development Authority (JDA),
but, the scores of owners have changed the land use of residential plots in violation to the existing building
norms.
Similarly sources said in Srinagar city’s Jawahar Nagar, Rajbagh, Gogjibagh, Wazirbagh and Karan Nagar,
Bemina, Qamarwari, Shalteng which are well planned residential colonies are fast turning into commercial
areas in complete violation of Srinagar Master Plan guidelines. “The residents said that there have been
several instances when they have lodged complaints with the authorities against people, for renting out
their residences for commercial purposes, however, no action were taken by the authorities beyond issuing
a customary notice to such residents.
Moreover, it has also been seen that residential owners who have rented their residences for commercial
purposes have been paying property tax as per taxes applicable for residential property. This is considerably
less that the tax applicable for commercial property.
“As per the Master Plan of the Housing Colony, in every block and sector there is provision for minimarket.
However, few years back when authority of law and order had started gradually diminishing, the residential
colony started turning into hub of commercial activities,” sources maintained.
Sources said that in the earmarked residential zones, nursing homes, restaurants, insurance offices, banks,
and beauty salons etc. have come up with full immunity.
Many reports were prepared in past to identify all illegal commercial conversions in order to take action but
nothing has happened.
According to many people, MLA's and prominent influential people residing in these areas have played a key
role in growth of such commercial activities. :Enforcement wings exist in all agencies like Jammu Municipal
Corporation, Jammu Development Authority, Housing Board etc. but a kind of game goes on in between
these agencies wherein they keep shifting the blame from one to other,” sources maintained.

A senior official, on condition of anonymity, said: “Many issues are involved, including laxity on part of the
enforcement agencies. And then there is political interference. Though a number of notices are issued to
violators, people go to court and get a stay.”
Meanwhile in the absence of proper parking norms and designated parking areas, the busy markets and vital
roads of the twin cities remain chockablock, owing to haphazard parking of vehicles by roadsides. Motorists
also find themselves clueless while parking their vehicles. Much to pedestrians and motorists’ chagrin,
haphazard parking of vehicles by roadsides has virtually reduced the city roads to half.
The “inaction” and “nonchalant” attitude on part of the administration towards the traffic offenders has
further aggravated the situation.
“The High Court has banned the parking of vehicles in Raghunath Bazaar but the directive is being flouted
with impunity. Haphazard parking of vehicles has reduced the road to half, subjecting pedestrians and
motorists to great hardship. It is high time that the administration clamped down on the menace of illegal
parking,” said Razdan, a local resident.
“It is a trouble walking along city roads in the evening, as People Park their vehicles along the narrow roads
and by-lanes, causing confusion,” he remarked.
In the Srinagar city, motorists senselessly park their vehicles along roads, causing congestion. “The
authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to the growing congestion on the city roads. People park
vehicles wherever they find space but the administration is least bothered about checking the violations,”
said Owais Gul a senior Journalist working in Srinagar. (KNS)

 
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State

Delhi obsessed with Kashmiri Pandits, silent about Kashmir massacres: Rasheed

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Paying rich tributes to the “martyrs” of Gawkadal massacre on their 28th anniversary, AIP President Er Rasheed said that Delhi and its institutions have failed to kill, humiliate and deny justice to Kashmiris has become the permanent interpretation of “nationalism and patriotism”.

In a statement issued here, Rasheed said that national media, politicians and a section of “pseudo-intellectuals with a communal mindset” have been often calling few unfortunate killings of Kashmiri Pandits at the hands of unknown persons as “genocide” but don’t speak even a word on Gawkadal massacre and other worst massacres which took place in every area of Kashmir at the hands of men in uniform.

The huge sacrifices offered by Kashmiris deserve a response within India and at the international level. The state has used its institutions and huge propaganda machinery to mislead the world community and create confusions about what Kashmiris stand for. The Gawkadal massacre reminds Delhi and the world community that after 29 years, the will, commitment and desire to get Jammu & Kashmir dispute resolved in accordance with UN resolutions have not only deepened but India is finding it difficult day by day to prove its narrative, Rasheed said.

 

Rasheed added that Kashmiris are not worried about the behaviour of New Delhi and are mature enough to understand that the colonial mind. However, the truth lies on the side of Kashmiris and they cannot compromise on their stand or surrender before the New Delhi.

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State

NHM employees stage protest, demand regularisation

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Employees of National Health Mission (NHM) on Monday staged a protest rally in Bandipora district of north Kashmir, demanding regularisation of their services.

Scores of the employees while shouting anti-governmental slogans held a protest rally from Hospital to mini secretariat Bandipora where they provided a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

The protesting employees said that most of employees working in the department have passed half of the age but were not regularised till date. “Govt must take any action to regularise us now,” one of the protesting employee said.

 

According to the protesting employees, the government had promised them social security benefits but till date, there were no initiatives taken by the government in this regard.

The protesting employees said that government is violating the guidelines of Supreme Court by not paying the equal pay for equal work, adding that people with the same profession in Delhi and Haryana are being benefited fully but their counterparts in valley are not.

The protesters threatened of more protests if their demands are not fulfilled.

 

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State

Anantnag’s Kothar residents protest to demand degree college

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Scores of residents from Nowgam Kothar village of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday staged a protest to express their dismay over government’s indifference and demanded for the establishment of Women’s Degree College in the area.

The residents including the senior citizens of the area assembled here at press enclave in Srinagar and raised slogans in favour of their demand.

Protesters carrying placards read “we want Degree College” and “we want Justice”.

 

The proposed college was first promised to the Shangus constituency but was later given to Chattisinghpora.

We were sure that the government would announce the college for their area said the protestors.

“In September 2018, when governor administration announced 40 colleges, we started the process. We completed all the formalities and were sure that college would be allotted,” said a protestor Mushtaq Ahamd.

“Our girls are forced to seek admission far from the home, either in colleges at Anantnag or in Srinagar. It is very hectic for them to travel long distances to reach to their colleges. It is not only expensive, but time consuming as well,” another protestor Bashir Ahmad said.

The protestors said that they would launch a full-fledged agitation to ensure that the government sanctions college in their favour.

“We would hit streets regularly to lodge our protest. We urge authorities to allot the college at an earliest or else be prepared for the consequences,” warned Bashir Mir.

“Any law and order problem arising out of our protests would directly be the responsibility of the government if it does not address our genuine concern immediately,” Mir added.

“We did everything that was required as far as official formalities are concerned. We met Advisor to the Governor, Khurshid Ganie. Later on we even sent the documents to the governor. We fail to understand as to why the authorities have not allotted the college. All the assurances provided to us proved futile,” the protesting residents said.

The Nowgam Kothar area comprises of 1041 households with no degree college. As per the locals, the said area has all the feasibilities required for the establishment of a college including land. “The college was not still allotted to us rather was given to a less feasible area,” the aggrieved protesters said.

Protestors appealed Governor Satya Pal Malik to look into the matter and fulfil their demand at an earliest.

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