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Friday, November 27, 2015

Minister among 5 gets fresh demolition notices in Srinagar

Special Tribunal gets 6 complexes sealed in Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Nov 26: While as five highly influential persons, including a Cabinet Minister of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government, have received fresh notices asking them to demolish unauthorised structures in the uptown, Special Tribunal has got six commercial complexes sealed in the posh areas of Rajbagh and Jawahar Nagar.

The Minister, according to well-placed sources, has secured building permission for a commercial building. However, allegedly with connivance of the Enforcement Wing of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the space reserved for parking has been converted in another business establishment and a separate structure has been raised on the same in violation of rules. Violations of larger intensity have been reported in four more high profile cases in Srinagar.

In a related development, Chairperson of Special Tribunal Mrs Sonali Kumar, has on the last weekend issued orders for sealing six commercial complexes, mostly raised in violation of rules and norms in the posh neighbourhoods of Rajbagh and Jawahar Nagar. These include the business complex of the wife of a senior SMC official who has served as Chief Enforcement Officer.

Commissioner SMC Showkat Ahmad Zargar confirmed to STATE TIMES that six commercial complexes have been sealed under orders of Special Tribunal earlier this week. “Yes I have issued the orders under section 19 of the Municipal Act in follow up to the order of Chairperson of Special Tribunal. These structures have been sealed under law”, Mr Zargar said.

Sources revealed that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had personally taken a serious notice of the illegal building permissions and No Objection Certificates issued in the last several years to the commercial complexes of influential businessmen and politicians. These buildings have choked the city’s arteries and the massive traffic jams witnessed in Srinagar are widely attributed to the same. Three of such complexes on Rajbagh side, close to Abdullah Bridge, have come up in violation of rules and norms as no space has been provided for parking of the vehicles of the shopkeepers and visitors to these establishments near Hattrick Point.

During his recent visit, Chief Minister had been invited by one of the well-connected owners of a commercial complex possibly to impress the authorities. However, sources said, Chief Minister asked officials to see if there was any case pending against the businessman in any court or Tribunal. “As soon as he learned that a case, seeking compounding of irregularities, was going on in Special Tribunal against the same businessman, Chief Minister cancelled the programme od paying a visit”, said an official source.

A squad of 50 Policemen, headed by a Dy SP, has been constituted by the authorities for demolition of the unauthorised structures in Srinagar.

Significantly, major business establishments raised by seven highly influential businessmen around Dal Lake have been sealed under orders of a Division Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Under the court orders, LAWDA officials involved in permitting these structures in violation of rules and in contempt to a PIL under progress in the High Court, have been identified and attached.

State Vigilance Organisation has also initiated preliminary inquiries with regard to their assets “disproportionate to their known sources of income”. Incumbent Vice Chairman LAWDA Sarmad Hafeez has issued clear-cut instructions to seal and demolish all such structures that have come up in the last several years in violation of rules around Dal Lake.


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