Master Plan violations assume new heights

Master Plan violations assume new heights

The illegal constructions are not only coming up in the restricted greenbelt but even on the main road along the 17-KM stretch between ParimPora and Athwajan.

From land filling of the flood basins and green spaces to illegal constructions, Master Plan violations have assumed new heights on the south City highway where as tall as six-storey commercial structures have popped up in the past few months.

The illegal constructions are not only coming up in the restricted greenbelt but even on the main road along the 17-KM stretch between ParimPora and Athwajan.

Constructional activities in this area are looked after by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation(SMC) and the Srinagar Development Authority(SDA), the custodian of City’s Master Plan, presently under revamp.

At a time when the Governor NN Vohra has waged a war against corruption, the enforcement squads of the twin governing bodies are being accused of grabbing millions as kickbacks for every such commercial construction. Eyebrows are even being raised over the role of Vigilance Organization Kashmir. Read on. 

THE CONSTRUCTIONS 

Scores of new illegal constructions have come up in the past around four months since floods hit Kashmir. Work has even been resumed on half left projects where construction was previously halted for want of requisite clearance.

In areas like Nowgam, work is on even on the fifth floor of constructions lacking requisite building permission. From multistoried complexes to extension of shops onto the roads looked after by the Roads and Building department, this highway is witnesses to multiple violations.

Some shop lines have extended their concrete structures onto the main road by around three for four feet. Greater Kashmir is in possession of relevant pictures. 

“Apart from allowing violations, the enforcement squads have been guiding people on how to undertake illegal constructions for upper floors. After covering the upper floors with tin sheets concrete work is accomplished from inside while both SMC and SDA are involved the frauds,” said a source privy to the developments.

“Elsewhere building permissions for residential houses have been utilized for construction of  commercial complexes and even though the Vigilance Organization of Kashmir has raised objections on some such developments, the matter diluted till the constructions were finally completed,” he added.

Insiders alleged kickbacks of uptoRs 50 lakhs are taken for construction of every floor of the buildings, a charge denied by the accused. 

SDA LAND GRAB

In what amounts to “criminal complicity”, the SDA is allegedly silent spectator to grab of its land along Bemina highway.

While the “green space” along the highway near SDA office Bemina is being filled by some locals in the broad daylight, the SDA authorities barely some meters away from the spot are witnessing the loot of state resource mutely.

Some people from Hamza Colony, Bemina, have been filling large patches of “green space” to use it for parking purposes. “This is loot of government resource. These people are filling the land without any permission or authority. The SDA, Municipality and other authorities should immediately take note of it,” said a resident.

This reporter saw at many places the “green space” has already been filled by the locals. At one or two places wide stretch of areas comprising hundreds of feet have been filled by the locals.

“If an internal road running parallel to the Highway would not separate this land from the houses of the people who have filled it, they would have annexed these lands with their own lands,” many residents of Bemina Colony said.

They said that if the authorities don’t take immediate action, it would become a ‘nuisance’ for other people. “Today they are filling the spaces. Tomorrow they can say that they have some right over this land,” they said.

POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY 

Since floods around 100 illegal constructions are believed to have come up on this highway stretch alone while half a dozen multistoried complexes have been constructed on adjacent Bagh-e-Mehtab main road. This is the state of affairs at a time when High Court is hearing a case on Master Plan violations. 

Though a few months back officials including Commissioner Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department Satish Nehru had reportedly sought inquiry into construction of some multi-storied complexes in HyderPora –Bemina stretch, the rise in illegal constructions mock at the official concern. 

Even as Governor NN Vohra seeks transparency, political uncertainty is   allegedly fuelling the Master Plan violations. Sources in the Civil Secretariat in Jammu said: “There are a lot many political pressures and so the issue of Master Plan violations continues to go unheard.”

Though the concerned including Divisional Commissioner Kashmir RohitKansal and the Roads and Building Department Chief Engineer Satish Kumar Razdan too are aware of the mess, the Master Plan violations continue to deface City further. (To be concluded)