Srinagar, Aug 01: Expressing serious concern over the depleting green cover, unlawful constructions in the flood basins and rampant change of land-use in Jammu and Kashmir, Governor N N Vohra Wednesday asked the Law Department to work out modalities of a single authority-oriented legal framework for effectively dealing with unlawful constructions and land encroachments in the State.
Governor made these remarks while chairing a high-level meeting at Civil Secretariat here to review the status of ‘Master Plans’ and ‘Zonal Plans’ which are being prepared by Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD) for the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu and other major towns of the State.
Governor was informed that the Jammu Master Plan has been finalized and zonal plans for 19 planning divisions are being formulated.
Governor also reviewed the status of preparation of Master Plans for Budgam, Srinagar, Baramulla, Ganderbal and Samba districts.
Governor called for further internal consultations and public hearings on the draft Srinagar Master Plan before it is finalized. He said the officers and officials entrusted with the job of formulating the Master Plan should explain, in public hearings, the basis of the Government’s position in regard to the Master Plan which should be a futuristic document keeping in view the environmental sensitivities, rapidly increasing housing and other infrastructure requirements, growing population etc.
“The aspirations and complaints of people must be harmonized and infused in the master plans. We must effectively address the concerns of different categories of stakeholders and remember that the government works to promote the welfare of people,” Governor observed.
He asked the H&UDD to fix timelines and hold consultations with business chambers, transporters, prominent citizens, environmentalists, conservation specialists and other stakeholders before the Srinagar Master Plan is finalized.
Governor also called for immediate steps to prevent illegal constructions and encroachments, particularly in vulnerable areas including green belts, flood basins, and on the roads and public places, by implementing the 2013 High Court order on unlawful constructions. He asked the law enforcement agencies to ensure that no building permission violations and encroachments take place anywhere in the State.
“There should be zero tolerance for encroachments and illegal constructions on the State lands and Kahcharai. Wherever illegal buildings have come up, the offenders will be dealt with as per law. All the officers must go out and see what is happening on the ground,” Governor observed, while ordering weekly surveillance by concerned agencies in encroachment-prone areas, particularly around the water bodies and in the green belt areas.
Governor said the new Master Plans for different areas of the State should address concerns of and incorporate solutions for addressing the issues of depleting green cover and rampant and unplanned urbanization. He also called for greater harmony between different agencies so that the Master Plans don’t clash with tourism master plans prepared by Tourism Development Authorities.
Governor said the multiplicity of agencies overseeing the development of Srinagar city and other areas of the state complicates the work of the law enforcement agencies in differentiating between commercial and residential areas, and the legal framework for a centralized authority being responsible for all land related issues should be explored. He said that the Srinagar Development Authority and Srinagar Municipal Corporation should use their powers to act stringently against the violators.
Governor asked Chief Secretary to examine the creation of posts of state Chief Architect and Chief Town Planner for synchronizing the expansion and future outlook of the environmentally-fragile state of J&K.
The Deputy Commissioners briefed the meeting about the progress of anti-encroachment drives launched in their respective districts.
The meeting was attended by B B Vyas and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Advisors to the Governor, BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary, KB Aggarwal, Financial Commissioner, Housing & Urban Development and Baseer Ahmad Khan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner Jammu attended the meeting through video-conferencing.
Secretary Tourism, Rigzin Sampheal, Secretary Law, Abdul Majid, District Development Commissioner, Srinagar, Dr Syed Abid Rasheed; Vice-Chairman, Srinagar Development Authority; Vice-Chairman, Jammu Development Authority, Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation; Commissioner, Jammu Municipal Corporation; Chief Town Planners of Kashmir and Jammu divisions and other concerned officers were also present at the meeting.
Voter turnout in Bijbehara, Anantnag a lesson for Mehbooba : Omar
Kulgam, Apr 24: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that the low voter turnout in Anantnag and Bijbehara is a lesson for PDP and Mehbooba Mufti.
He asserted that the ensuing elections are significant since it provides the people of the state an opportunity to reveal how passionately they feel about their identity including Art370, Art 35-A.
Addressing two separate public meets at Chawalgam and Homeshalibug, Kulgam party vice president said that the threats of BJP-RSS to abrogate Art 370, Art 35A will be defeated as the people of the state will not allow them succeed in their nefarious designs. “ Today state is facing an assault on its special status from all sides, however all the machinations of the forces as are inimical to our status will fall flat if the people of our state show resoluteness in protecting the identity and integrity of our state. This time people across the state have taken it upon themselves to trounce the efforts as are hell bent to destroy the special constitutional status of the state,” he said adding, “Today’s elections is not about choosing MLA’s, today our state is fraught with a challenging situation. The need of the hour is to send a representative to Parliament who can fight for the interests of state, the situation that the state is facing today demands of having a credible voice at Delhi who can work tireless both within and outside parliament for the protection of Art 370, Art 35-A. Seeing the scope of work and the challenges we are facing, we considerately fielded Retired Justice Hasnain Sb from Anantnag constituency. He is known for his pronounced judgments on Art 370, Art 35 A. He boasts the necessary political and legal acumen to deal with the situation.”
While highlighting the importance of Art 370, Art 35 A, Omar said, “It is needless to say how important Art 370, Art 35-A are for the state and its people. Today the people of our state are masters of its own land. They work on their land, and derive their sustenance from it. God forbid, if these articles are done away with, the consequences that will follow shall be beyond our comprehension. The people of the state will stop to cleave to a respectable denomination which Sher- e- Kashmir bestowed upon them through famous land to tiller reforms and other people friendly measures. Our kids would not be able to derive various scholarships from government. The youth of our state will cease to be the sole beneficiary of jobs in government sector. Keeping in mind the far-reaching consequences of abrogation of our status, we deemed it fit to have Hasnain Masoodi represent us in parliament from Anantnag.”
Mehbooba demands release of Yasin Malik
Srinagar, Apr 24: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday demanded the release of separatist leader Yasin Malik.
“Yasin Malik should be released immediately as he is really unwell. Also other members of Jamaat-e-Islami should be released. Sadhvi Pragya on whom there are several serious accusations has been set free,” Mufti said.
Delhi’s Patiala House Court Wednesday sent Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik to judicial custody till May 24 in connection with a 2017 alleged funding case.
Mehbooba also lodged a note of protest against a slew of measures brought about in the valley recently.
“After the encounter, families of militants are harassed and the cross LoC trade which was taking place through Muzaffarabad has also been stopped. The National Highway is closed for traffic for two days in a week and security forces are interfering in the daily life of people. We are protesting against all these issues,” she said.
Elections in the state are staggered in five phases which began on April 11 and culminate on May 6. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.
Rains lash Kashmir; weather to improve from today
Srinagar, Apr 24: Rains continued to lash Kashmir since Tuesday evening, bringing the average temperature down in the valley.
The local meteorological department predicted improvement in weather conditions from Thursday evening.
The rains began on Tuesday evening and continued intermittently till this evening. The rains in the Valley led to dip in the temperature.
Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar Ahmad said that the weather conditions in Kashmir would improve from Thursday evening.
He said the light rainfall would continue intermittently till Thursday evening following which there will be improvement in the weather.
Ahmad said that in plains the weather would improve from Thursday afternoon while in higher reaches it will start improving from the evening.
Meanwhile, an official in Meteorological department informed that Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 12.0 degrees Celsius Tuesday night against 8.9 degrees Celsius normal for this time of the season.
The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir received 3.9 mm of rain since overnight till 8:30 hours, he said.
The official said that Qazigund, the gateway town of Kashmir, recorded a low of 10.8 degrees Celsius and had a rainfall of 6.8 mm while the mercury in Kokernag town in south Kashmir settled at a low of 9.2 degrees Celsius and it had 8.6 mm of rains during the time.
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