HC stays construction of a commercial building near Jhelum banks

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J&K High Court has directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to produce ownership record of the land on which a multi-storeyed commercial building is coming up barely 10 to 15 feet from the banks of Jhelum in Rajbagh here.

The Court has also sought the details of the construction permissions granted to the building as well as to other “similar structures” along the Jhelum banks.

Hearing a PIL, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to file an affidavit indicating the ownership of the land in question with effect from 1947.

While the Court sought the status of the land after the flooding of river Jhelum in September, 2014, it asked for furnishing details as to what happened to the land and the extent to which it was flooded. The Court also sought to know of the constructions which have been permitted on the land since 1947. “The complete details of permissions so granted in chronological order be enclosed,” the court said.  “In case the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir requires any assistance or information from any other authority, he shall seek the same from the concerned departments who shall cooperate with him and forthwith make available relevant information”.

The Court directed the Divisional Commissioner to produce the affidavit by November 18.

The Court also directed J&K State Pollution Control Board to file an affidavit with regard to the permission granted by it to owner of the structure regarding discharge of sewage or treated effluents from any STP into the river Jhelum.

The copies of application(s), permissions granted to the owner, the court said, shall be placed on record before it.

The Court also directed Inspector General of Police, Traffic to inform it about the permission granted by it to raise a commercial structure at the spot in question and the plan in place for management of the burden on the traffic which will result due to coming up and operationalisation of the commercial structure at the site in question.

“The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir shall conduct an inquiry and place before us the permission sought to Inland Waterway Authority of India before the next date of hearing”, the Court said.

The Court also directed Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), the Revenue Department and the Irrigation and Flood Control Department to file affidavits with regard to the permission(s) granted for construction of a multi-storeyed commercial building which has come up barely between 10 to 15 feet from the banks of the River Jhelum.

“These authorities shall place before this Court, details of the permissions which have been granted by them to construction of similar structures along the banks of the River Jhelum”.

While the bench asked B A Dar, Sr AAG, to place before it tabulation of all its orders prohibiting or permitting constructions in or around the flood plains, flood channels and the River Jhelum, it said till court considers the matter and passes appropriate orders, no construction, renovation or completion of any kind shall be carried out on the building in question. The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, the court said, shall ensure that the direction was complied with.

Meanwhile, the court directed Sr AAG Dar to visit the spot in question and inform it as to how the sewage, garbage, solid waste would be managed by the authorities, if the commercial activity on the spot in question was permitted.

With regard to the report filed by the Registrar Judicial pursuant to its directions, the court asked the officer to ensure that the digitized report was brought on record and placed before it.