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Committee to probe construction of building near Zero bridge

Srinagar, July 25: The under-construction building near Zero Bridge, Raj Bagh, has come under the scanner, as a committee has been constituted to conduct an enquiry into the grant of building permission.

There has been a hue and cry over the construction of this six-storey building near the river Jhelum.

An official of the General Administration Department said that on the directives of Governor N N Vohra, a high-level committee headed by Deputy Commissioner Srinagar has been constituted to inquire into the grant of the building permit.

Special Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department , Vice Chairman Srinagar Development Authority, Director Floriculture, and representatives of Roads and Buildings Department not below the rank of superintendent engineer are its members.

An order of the GAD said the mandate of the committee was to enquire to “establish the ownership” of land whether state land/Khacharie land, which is not allowed to be sold as per provisions of JK was involved.

The order reads that the mandate of the committee will also be to find out “whether land use of the present site falls under SMC, whether the ongoing construction at the site was as per the permission obtained earlier. Deviation in the proposed sanction if any is also to be brought out clearly.”

The building, surrounded by lush poplar trees, is being constructed near Zero Bridge, Rajbagh, and lies around 50 metres away from river Jhelum.

The issue had gained momentum after it was raked up in the legislative assembly by former chief minister Omar Abdullah during the budget session in Jammu. “I’ve been told it is Irrigation & Flood Control land. This small patch of land played a vital role in 2014 floods, allowing us to pump water out,” the former chief minister had said.

Subsequently, the then Irrigation and Flood Control Minister, Sham Lal Chowdhary had said, “I have asked for the papers to know the exact position of the land near Zero Bridge Raj Bagh where a hotel/mall is presently under construction. As of now we have no information whose land is it. The information will also be shared in the Assembly.”

Earlier, the authorities of Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Irrigation Flood Control Department had told The Kashmir Monitor that all concerned departments had given their nod for the said construction.

A shopkeeper at Rajbagh said that construction was started a few years ago.

“Till 2016 end, we did not know because the place where the construction is taking place was fully covered with green tarpaulin so that nobody raises objections,” the shopkeeper said.

“When it was raised to the second storey then we got to know about it,” he added.