BJP’s J&K vice president in the eye of government’s anti-encroachment storm

Authorities take possession of 2 commercial complexes erected by Sofi Yousuf, his brother
An earthmover demolishes a structure during government's anti-encroachment drive. [Representational Image]
An earthmover demolishes a structure during government's anti-encroachment drive. [Representational Image]File: Aman Farooq for Greater Kashmir

Anantnag: Tightening its noose on influential encroachers, authorities took possession of two commercial structures allegedly belonging to senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and his brother in Sirgufwara tehsil of south Kashmir's Anantnag district on Thursday.

An official, who did not wish to be quoted by his name, said that the authorities took possession of two commercial structures comprising 11 shops.

He said that the structures were erected on the State land and belonged to BJP's state vice president and former MLC Sofi Yousuf and his brother Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi.

The official said that the structures were handed over to the Rural Development Department (RDD).

“The owners had rented out the shops to local shopkeepers. We did not seal the shops so that the livelihood of the tenants does not suffer," he said.

The official said that the shopkeepers were asked to pay their rent to the RDD henceforth.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Yousuf said that the authorities had taken possession of the structures belonging to him and his brother but said that the structures had been erected on the proprietary land.

“It is our ancestral property. I will soon produce the papers of this property before the authorities," he said.

Yousuf said that no one was above the law and he was not against reclaiming the property encroached by the political leaders.

District Magistrate, Anantnag, Basharat Qayoom did not respond to calls and messages of Greater Kashmir.

2,86,876 kanal State land retrieved in Rajouri

Meanwhile, over 2,86,875 kanal and 14 marlas State land has been retrieved in Rajouri so far, the Rajouri district administration said.

An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that the district administration had launched a massive anti-encroachment drive in all the tehsils of the district.

“As per the eviction plan and on the directions of Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, a series of anti-encroachment drives have been conducted across the district in the past one month,” the spokesman said.

He said that the teams of Police, officers and officials of the Revenue Department conducted drives in Rajouri, Darhal, Thanamandi, Nowshera, Qila Darhal, Sunderbani, Siot, Kalakote, Terayth, Beripatan, Manjakote, Moughla, and Khawas.

The spokesman said that the State land retrieved from the illegal occupants includes 7671 kanal and 5 marlas  Kacharai land and 2,79,204 Kanal and 9 marlas of state land including Roshni land.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rajouri, Vikas Kundal said that anti-encroachment drives would continue in all the parts of the district till the entire encroached land was retrieved.

To avoid further encroachment, the authorities of the Revenue Department have been directed to erect signboards to earmark the land as State land.

787 kanal State land retrieved in Ramban

Meanwhile, Ramban district administration retrieved more than 787 kanal State land in different tehsils of the district on Thursday.

An official spokesman in a statement said that in joint anti-encroachment drives conducted by the officers of the Revenue Department and Police, 534 Kanal encroached State land was reclaimed in tehsil Banihal, 207 kanal in tehsil Ramban, 23 kanal in Khari and 21 kanal in Ramsoo.

DC Ramban Mussarat Islam and other senior officers monitored the anti-encroachment drives, the spokesman said.

He said that the DC convened a follow up meeting of district and sectoral officers to review the action taken on direction pertaining to their respective departments passed in a recent meeting held under the Chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

The spokesman said that the DC Ramban directed the officers to achieve the target besides implementing the directions on the ground in letter and spirit and submit the Action Taken Reports (ATRs) on a monthly basis.

While reviewing the status of anti-encroachment drives, the DC directed the officers to submit a report regarding the status of the government land registered with their respective department and further requirement of evicted State land for the establishment of government offices and other public utilities. 

The DC directed the DIO Ramban to monitor and keep surveillance on the content published on social media and newspapers.

“Forward names of persons who circulate fake, fabricated news items to enforcement agencies for initiating action against them under extant rules,” he said.

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