Government departments construct ‘illegal’ buildings, undermine SMC
GK CITY CORRESPONDENT
Srinagar, Sept 7: Bringing severe embarrassment for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, despite reminders the state has failed to take action against the “erring” government departments, which illegally constructed buildings in the City.
The SMC had served notices to the offending departments, but none of them responded to the strictures.
Some of the key departments have constructed multistoried buildings without requisite permissions and in brazen violation of Master Plan for Srinagar.
The state police tops the list of offenders with Jammu and Kashmir Police constructing its multistoried headquarters at Pir Bagh on the City suburb without seeking permission from the civic body.
Even though the SMC many a time tried to stop the construction, the police is said to have flexed muscles and prevented the civic action.
Finally, this year, close to the inauguration of the Police Headquarter (PHQ), the SMC had served notices to the police and also asked the Housing and Urban Development department to look into the matter.
But till now, SMC officials said, there had been no breakthrough.
“They didn’t even bother to acknowledge our correspondence than to talk of paying fine etc,” they added.
SMC says such complexes couldn’t be constructed in residential areas.
“This (PHQ construction) is sheer violation of norms and an irreparable inconvenience for the dwellers of the residential colonies in the area,” said a SMC official requesting not to be named.
To mention, the Pir Bagh residents living in areas like Nadergund have been complaining of “infringement into privacy” due to heavy deployment of troops on-guard the heavily secured structure there.
Besides the violation of norms by the JKP, even the much hyped Hajj House falls in the same category.
The Ministry of Hajj and Auqaf didn’t even inform the SMC about the construction.
And even though the SMC served notices to the department, there was no response.
Experts have reservations about the Hajj House site as they say it should have been away from the highway.
Besides, the upcoming Museum building on Jhelum banks which is getting final touches these days, is also an illegal structure if SMC officials are to be believed.
As about the Sangarmaal, a prestigious project of Srinagar Development Authority, the mall near MA Road was constructed without the building permission.
Ironically, the then chief ministers including Ghulam Nabi Azad had frequently visited the construction sites. But successive regimes seem to have ignored seeking the building permissions.
To mention, only the SMC is authorized to allow the construction of such buildings in Srinagar, after a survey of the site and project report.
The Building Organization Construction Authority (BOCA), a forum of various departments headed by SMC commissioner convene a meeting to decide the fate of such building permission cases.
It’s only after a thorough review of the case by various agencies including the traffic regulatory authorities that the permissions are granted.
But in all these Sarkari cases, the laws were flouted.
And this has been cause of embarrassment for the SMC because whenever its demolition squad opts for action against illegal structure constructed by civil population, the offenders often lash back saying “why you people have two yardsticks?”
“When police can construct illegal buildings why can’t we poor people construct houses?” A few weeks ago, this question by a complainant had put City Mayor Salman Sagar in an uncomfortable position at a social gathering.
Sources said as the complainant bluntly picked up the issue of illegal government buildings, the Mayor couldn’t utter a word in response but preferred to leave the spot pretending some urgent work.
When contacted, the Mayor admitted about the episode.
“Such incidents keep happening,” he said.
Sagar said the “illegal constructions” by government departments was a “serious issue.”
“Only a few departments paid fine. The others didn’t respond. But we’re at it,” he told Greater Kashmir.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 Sep 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 Sep 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Sep 2009 00:00:00 IST
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