Baramulla college's 100-kanal land possession caught in 'official wrangles'

The possession of around 100 kanal of land of the Government Degree College (GDC) Baramulla has been caught in official wrangles.

Also known as Prof Showkat Ali Stadium, the land is used by college administration as a playfield for the students of the institution.

But it remains a one-stop destination for the administration, J&K Sports Council and the forces personnel to organise sports and cultural events in the district.

Over the years, the dispute over the ownership of the land has left it in shambles.

According to the college administration, the land is the property of the college as per the revenue records but is used by the J&K Sports Council for its official purpose in the district.

“The J&K Sports Council has built its sports infrastructure illegally in the ground without even intimating the college administration,” a college official said.

Few years ago, the administration set up an indoor stadium on the boundaries of the land, which according to the college officials was built without informing the college administration.

The indoor stadium houses a COVID19 hospital since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“There was no problem with setting up of COVID19 hospital but the officers and the attendants visiting the hospital use this ground as parking space, which has further deteriorated the condition of the ground,” said a local resident.

Not only this, at the time of elections the administration allows parking of heavy motor vehicles in the center of the ground that mars the maintenance of the ground.

“Whether it is the property of the college or J&K Sports Council, this was the only playfield in north Kashmir which hosted first class cricket matches. The ground has lost its sheen and glory due to negligence of the administration,” said Kifayat Aftab, a noted sports commentator of Baramulla. “Only potholes and mud are visible on this ground, which hurts every sportsperson.”

Principal GDC Baramulla, Prof Abdul Rashid Malik told Greater Kashmir that the ground was the property of the college as per the revenue records available with the Higher Education Department and the college.

“J&K Sports Council did not seek any permission or follow any paperwork at the time of construction of the indoor sports stadium. The entire structure was constructed on the basis of verbal information,” Prof Malik said.

He said that the small district office of the J&K Sports Council was illegally constructed in the ground during early 1990s.

“The office was supposed to be constructed at Lower Jhelum Sports Stadium in 1990s but the construction was not allowed there and they erected the structure here,” Prof Malik said.

The principal also said the ground witnessed damages worth Rs 3 lakh during the recent election process.

“We have written to the Deputy Commissioner who has given approval to R&B department to take up the maintenance and levelling of the ground,” he said.

The outgoing Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Ghulam Nabi Itoo acknowledged the deterioration of the ground and said that steps for its restoration and repairs had been taken up.

“I had a meeting with the college principal and the ground will be repaired properly,” he said.

About the dispute over the ownership of the ground, Itoo said that the matter would be sorted out between the Higher Education department and J&K Sports Council.

“I have decided that both the departments will be taken onboard and a Memorandum of Understanding signed between them over the utilisation of the ground. Maybe, we will give access to the J&K Sports Council up to the area around the indoor stadium and the rest of the ground will be taken care of by the college,” he said.