Srinagar, Nov 15: People were expecting unabated illegal constructions would stop after the imposition of the Governor rule, but over the last few months, scores of illegal buildings have come up at various places in the heart of the Srinagar city.
Sources said that besides many illegal structures having sprouted up, there have been many such instances in the recent months, with the Srinagar Municipal Corporation 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 Srinagar city from last few months,” sources maintained.
We were expecting that the Governor’s administration will take serious steps to stop illegal constructions and also take action against the officials who over the years have been involved in the illegal constructions, but instead more illegal constructions have come up within the city,” said one of the local residents here in Bemina Srinagar.
Sources said that even posh residential areas are fast turning into breeding grounds for unauthorized conversion of residential properties for commercial purposes.
Housing colonies 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 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 told KNS 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.
Enforcement wings exist in all agencies like Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Srinagar 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.”
One of the top government officials told that the authorities have been directed to take strict action against violators.
Roads dotted with risky potholes in Sgr city, no concern for Govt
Srinagar, Apr 25 : Notwithstanding considerable improvement in weather conditions, authorities have failed to undertake repairs of dilapidated roads in the summer capital.
In absence of timely repairs, most of the roads including Srinagar Airport Road, Jehangir Chowk, Tourist Reception Center, Radio Kashmir, Ram Munshi Bagh, Sonwar, Batwara, Rangreth, Rawalpora, Sanatnagar, Dalgate, Mehjoor Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Nowgam, Batamaloo, Lal chock, Bemina, Qamarwari and MA Road are dotted with potholes.
The authorities have so far failed to undertake repairs of dilapidated roads in the summer capital.
The people here said that though they visited the office of the district administration and Chief engineer Roads and buildings many times with the request for repairing the broken roads, but their requests have fallen on deaf ears.
“The condition of most busy and import Airport road is pathetic. Bad road make it difficult to drive on this stretch. ,” said Tahir of Humhama Airport road.
Inordinate delay by authorities to undertake repairs of Srinagar Airport is taking a heavy toll on the commuters.
The road is dotted with potholes and rough surface. The road has caved in at several places posing risk to commuters.
“We wonder why the authorities are sitting on repairs on this vital stretch” asked Nisar Ahmad, a local.
The road from Qamarwari, Noorbagh to Dalgate is in a bad shape causing inconvenience to commuters, especially students and office-goers.
“Nobody from the administration bothers to take steps to make the bumpy roads functional for the smooth traffic,” said a government employee.
“A distance which should be travelled in less than 40 minutes takes more than an hour because of the potholed roads of the city,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, an auto rickshaw driver.
“The non-seriousness of the authorities can be gauged by the fact that in the month of March, Chief Engineer R&B Sami Arif had said that the repair work of roads has been started. Almost two months have passed now, but no roads in the city have been repaired. It seems that the Chief Engineer is ignorant and does not bother to look into the matter,” said one of the commuters.
Road from Qamarwari leading towards Valley’s lone tertiary care hospital, SKIMS Soura is in shambles. This poses risk to lives of patients who are referred there from other hospitals,” said Mohammad Ismail, a resident of Safakadal.
During rains, the dilapidated roads turn into cesspools. “When water remains stagnant for a long time, it further damages roads,” a shopkeeper in commercial hub, Lal Chowk said pointing towards damaged stretch of road.
Taking the cognizance of the bad situation of the roads in the district, the Srinagar district administration in an order issued to R&B Department on April 10 sort details about officials and contractors for criminal proceedings. Even former chief minister Omar Abdullah has expressed concern over bad condition of roads.
Meanwhile most of the roads in Shaher-e-Khaas including Alamgari Bazar, Soura, Nowhatta are dilapidated.
The roads in rural areas are also in mess. Reports said that the roads in North and south Kashmir are in shabby condition, and travelling is proving to be back breaking experience.
The angry commuters here also accused Roads and Buildings (R&B) department of having failed to carry out necessary repairs of the roads.
“What is the fun of macadamizing when it (macadam) doesn’t last long? The authorities should take into account the hardships suffered by the commuters,” they said.
The experts believe that lack of planning, poor quality control and drainage system are the primary causes for the poor condition of roads in the city. They said that that poor drainage leads to accumulation of water on the roads that eventually washes off a patch or leaves the roads with potholes.
Mismanagement on Jmu-Sgr highway: Ill planning causes crippling losses to state economy, says KCCI
Srinagar, Apr 25: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry has expressed serious concern at the lack of proper infrastructural planning and mismanagement of traffic which is causing crippling losses to the economy and suffering to the general public.
The frequent closure of the Jammu-Srinagar road link due to landslides and shooting stones, unscheduled declaration of one way movement, the two days closure for movement of Security Forces and the harassment of travelers due to multiple check points has resulted in the development of an abnormal situation of people being dissuaded from using the Highway.
A spokesperson of KCC&I today said that although the Jammu- Srinagar highway suffered from minor problems earlier also but the condition since last year has been unprecedented. The journey from Udhampur to Srinagar a mere distance of around 200Km- has turned into a nightmare. Vehicles laden with goods have been stuck at various places for weeks together. Documents submitted by members of the KCC&I show that some trucks have been stuck at Udhampur since 10th of April.
Transportation of livestock including poultry and sheep towards Srinagar and movement of fruits from Srinagar to outside the valley has also been severely hit. There are reports the fruit sent from Kashmir has reached various Mandi’s in a bad condition. Tourist vehicles are also stopped and we have reports that tourist groups have often taken more than 20 hours to reach Srinagar which has disrupted their booking schedules and programs. Tourists are therefore avoiding travelling by road. In view of the huge monetary risk involved, movement of perishable goods including frozen products has reduced to almost nil. Transporters are now flatly refusing to ply their vehicles on the Jammu-Srinagar Sector. Losses caused to various sectors are mounting as the sector has been rendered unviable due to the reasons enumerated above.
The situation in the capital city of Srinagar and other major townships of the valley is no better. Traffic bottlenecks, jams and inadequate management manpower at all major and peripheral junctions has choked the roads. Srinagar seems to be the biggest casualty of ill-conceived planning over the years.
The conversion of a motorable bridge at Rajbagh into a footbridge is a case in point. The wastage of crores of rupees of public money into the creation of a foot bridge when the choked public is gasping for more road links is a bizarre decision. Same can be said of the erstwhile Zero Bridge which could have – with appropriate reinforcements – provided necessary traffic disbursal linkage for light one-way traffic. The Government has, in its wisdom, converted two motorable bridges into foot bridges and built another footbridge near the Museum in a stretch of around 1.5 km whereas the requirement is for providing of multiple motorable bridges across the Jhelum. The Government seems to be oblivious to and unconscious about the miserable plight of the public who have to waste hours every day while commuting to work on these routes. After the Durbar Move, the situation is likely to go from bad to worse.
The Government needs to take immediate corrective measures to rectify the abnormal situation which is clearly moving towards an economic collapse. But at the same time, it also needs to re-assess long term infrastructural requirements as it cannot be digging wells every time there is a fire.
The Kashmir Chamber has also been pressing for the early opening of the Mughal Road and in this regard appreciated the efforts put in by the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir for issuing necessary directions for diverting road opening machinery for this purpose. The efforts put in by the district administration of Shopian especially R&B Department, Mechanical Engineering Wing has resulted in the clearance of the road upto Peer Ki Gali despite inclement weather conditions and heavy snow. The blockade is now on a stretch of about two kms falling in Jammu Division which we have been assured will be cleared up within a week. The KCC&I strongly recommended that the Mughal Road should be developed as an exclusive corridor for uninterrupted movement of civilian traffic during the summer months in addition to correcting the problems on the National Highway.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry also urges for conversion of the Foot Bridge to Motorable bridges, as originally planned adequate augmentation of personnel for management of traffic throughout the valley is also recommended.
Rattled Mehbooba desperate to generate sympathy: BJP
Srinagar, Apr 25: Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday said that low voter turnout in her perceived bastion in phase one of the Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency has rattled Mehbooba Mufti so much that she has upped the ante as far as her anti-India tirade and pro-separatist agenda are concerned.
In a statement issued, Brig Gupta warned Mehbooba Mufti that in her quest to generate a sympathy wave, she continues to boast about her defiance of the instructions/advisories issued to her government by the Central Government. These statements of are confession of her betrayal to the highest constitutional post while in occupation of which she was working against the national interest.
“She also continues to emotionally exploit the local Kashmiris through half-baked truth and spin-doctored statements. Knowing fully well the difference between international trade carried out at Wagah and barter trade across the LOC carried out at the two trade facilitation centres, one each in Jammu & Kashmir regions, she continues to mislead the Kashmiris through statements like “if trade via Wagah can continue, why not the cross-LOC trade?” Since majority of the rural population in Kashmir does not know the difference between the two types of trade they get emotionally swayed and get carried away by her anti-India propaganda that “Central Government wants to subjugate the Kashmiris and squeeze them economically.” Nothing can be farther from truth rued Brig Gupta. As a responsible mainstream politician and ex-CM of the state she should be explaining to the people the real intent of the government which is to curb terror funding so that the menace of terror can be eradicated from the Valley and peace restored for the benefit of common Kashmiri,” said Brig Gupta.
“The recent revelation of how the cross-LOC trade was being manipulated by the ISI through Pak based Kashmiri militants belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) is an eye-opener and should enlighten the Kashmiris about the false and malicious propaganda being carried out by Mehbooba just for the sake of votes so that she can remain relevant in the corridors of power. I appeal to our brethren in Kashmir to not to get swayed by the motivated and false propaganda unleashed by her,” he said. He said “While Mehbooba has a soft corner for terrorist turned separatist Yasin Malik and is threatening the Central government to release her, she has not uttered even a single word of condemnation against cold-blooded murders carried out by him of Indian Air Force personnel and many Kashmiri Pundits. It further confirms her anti-minority and pro-terror mind set which is not only dangerous but contemptuous as well.”
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