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Kashmir: Illegal constructions on, Govt unmoved

Srinagar, Aug 01: Despite state government having admitted that in violation of the land revenue act, illegal constructions were going “unabated” in Kashmir, nothing has been done to stop such constructions or taking any action against erring officials.
Official sources told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that the government in October last year admitted that “illegal constructions” are going “unabated” across Kashmir.
In a meeting held under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, it was revealed that illegal constructions were going across the valley without seeking permission from the competent authorities.
“The participants expressed serious concern over illegal constructions and directions were issued to start a demolition drive,” a senior official, who was part of the meeting, said.
As per the documents of the minutes of the meeting, the illegal constructions were going unabated in every “nook and corner” of the valley, more particularly in Srinagar district.
“On the one hand they are causing loss to the state exchequer by way of non-payment of requisite fee by the public towards the concerned departments and on the other it leads to unplanned constructions development,” the documents read.
“The constructions are also coming along national highway in violation of the Land Revenue Act, by converting the agricultural land into commercial/residential purposes, and Ribbon Development Act as the required distance on either side of the NH is not theft,” the documents read.
The official said that Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Srinagar Development Authority, ULB, LAWDA. PWD, and Irrigation and Flood Control Department were directed to prepare a “comprehensive plan” for removal of encroachments and demolition of illegal constructions.
The official said that district development commissioners were also directed that “no constructions” should come up along the NH in violation of Land Revenue Act and Ribbon Development Act. However, nothing has been done.
“The departments did not pay any heed to directives to carry out demolition drive on illegal constructions across the valley,” he said.
“No action has been taken against officials responsible for allowing illegal constructions over the years,” he added.
The state cabinet in April last year also approved a policy on illegal structures in twin capital cities of the state and for Katra town. In the policy, ceiling has been fixed for regularisation of such structures after imposing hefty penalty on the violators while as major violations of land use and building bye-laws will face demolition.