sources said over 300 illegal commercial constructions are coming up in the City while many have already completed the work.
While illegal constructions and government land grab have often gone synonymous with election year politics in this City –the menace looks far from over this time amid political uncertainty and rise in Master Plan violations.
From within the famed Dal lake where constructions are banned and high profile Airport Road frequented by VIPs, to the areas falling along the Athwajan-Parim Pora highway, illegal constructions have been on rise in the past four odd months past September floods. Highly placed sources said over 300 illegal commercial constructions are coming up in the City while many have already completed the work.
The state witnessed two major elections in 2014. The prevalent political uncertainty in the formation of new government due to fractured mandate in December 23 results of Assembly elections is believed to be major cause of mushrooming of illegal constructions.
However unlike the past, when political patronage alone would allegedly fuel illegal constructions, this time there are complaints of involvement of kickbacks worth millions in the deals.
The illegal constructions have mushroomed at a time when the state High Court is hearing a case on Master Plan violations.
Apart from Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Srinagar Development Authority(SDA), the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) and the Army run Badami Bagh Cantoment Board, eyebrows are even being raised over the alleged lapse on the part of the Roads and Building department and the Vigilance Organization of Kashmir.
While main roads at numerous places including Batamaloo and Nowgam have been allegedly encroached upon for construction of shops and other commercial establishments, the R&B has reportedly failed to check violations undertaken even on the middle of the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. Greater Kashmir is in possession of related evidence.
In majority of cases commercial constructions are being undertaken in brazen violations of the building permission norms. Sources said in most of the cases the permission for residential structures have been misused to construct multistoried complexes as have come up along the Airport Road and the south Srinagar highway.
But while letting the commercial complexes come up, the concerned have failed to ensure parking facility though mandatory. Sources said 90% of the allegedly illegal complexes under construction are void of any parking space. “This is despite the fact that absence of parking in the complexes constructed during the past around a decade has been major cause of traffic mess in Srinagar,” said a town planner asking not to be identified.
While the political uncertainty is believed to be major cause of rise in the illegal constructions, politics has long been related to such violations for over three decades. Observers said “political greed” has often proved disastrous for Srinagar planning.
“It has been since ‘70s that in the name of politics commercial constructions would be allowed. This is how even the City center of Lal Chowk got vandalized. At places where victory celebrations would be held during daytime, shops would be constructed overnight,” said a political analyst adding “the only change now is that instead of shop line multistoried complexes are coming up.”
But then is it only about illegal constructions or even land-filling of waterbodies and government land grab is going on? And, what about the role of concerned? What have they been doing all these months? (To be concluded)