Srinagar: A day after Greater Kashmir carried out an investigative story on illegal construction in the interiors of the Dal Lake, J&K Lake Conservation and Management Authority (LCMA) swung into action and carried out a massive demolition drive in these areas.
However, some questions that remain unanswered are: “Is demolition enough? Should not the officers who facilitated these illegal constructions be identified and taken to task.”
Officials from LCMA told Greater Kashmir that a team from the enforcement wing carried out demolition drives in the interiors of the Dal Lake and demolished multiple structures.
The officials said that they carried out demolition drives in the interiors of the Dal Lake areas like Kand Mohalla, Sofi Mohalla, Tinda Mohalla, and other Srinagar areas of Baba Demb, Chandpora Harwan, Friends Colony Shalimar, and Ishber.
They said multiple structures including a wooden shed, two single stories with a compound wall, one plinth block, shuttering, compound walling, and the second storey of a structure raised illegally were demolished on the spot.
Greater Kashmir’s Thursday issue reported that despite the ban on construction in Dal Lake interiors and adjoining vicinities, the lake continued to witness illegal constructions.
The visit by the Greater Kashmir team to areas like Kand Mohalla A, Kand Mohalla B, Tinda Mohalla, Sofi Mohalla, and other multiple areas of the lake interiors found that despite a ban on construction, people were sneaking in construction material and that too in absence of road connectivity, and constructing new houses and other structures.
During the visit, the construction at some places was going on while at other places people had constructed plinths for new houses and completed most of the work on other structures.
An official from LCMA said that their team carried out demolition in Dal Lake interiors and other areas.
He said that despite the dearth of staff and resistance from locals, they carried out the demolition drives on Thursday and were carrying such drives continuously.
“We carry out these drives throughout the year as continuously reported by the media. Many times, we face law and order situations but still we do our job with utmost honesty. We have a dearth of staff and the area is huge which makes our job tougher. We face stone pelting when we carry out demolition in these areas. We need Police protection during such drives and only then can we carry out major drives,” the LCMA official said.
He said that during the fresh demolition drives they faced law and order issues and had to carry out demolition drives amid stone pelting.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Enforcement Officer LCMA Abdul Aziz Qadri said that some miscreants assembled at several places and hurled stones and bricks at the enforcement team, and tried to disrupt the demolition process.
He said that the demolition team remained at the forefront and managed to demolish several structures in the interiors of the Dal Lake.
“We went to assess the situation and to carry out the drive against illegal construction. In Dal Lake interiors, we faced law and order issues which usually happen there. The people there assembled and pelted stones at us. We still managed to carry out the demolition of multiple structures. We are planning to carry out massive demolition drives and will also write to officials to provide Police protection. We don’t want any untoward incident to happen during such drives and that is why proper protection is needed,” Qadri said.
He said that the areas under their jurisdiction like Dal Lake interiors were not easily accessible.
“This makes it more difficult for our teams to carry out such tasks. We also have a dearth of staff. We try to do our best. We have been doing our job with integrity and are on our toes throughout the year. We hope that with the help of the Police, we can carry out major drives so that no illegal activity is allowed,” Qadri said.
The officials from LCMA also directed the tipper and load carrier owners not to carry any construction material in the prohibited areas of Dal Lake and other prohibited areas without getting proper permission.
The officials said that they had installed CCTV cameras and put barricades to curb the transportation of illegal building materials into these areas.