SMC in slumber as illegal constructions galore in Srinagar

IRFAN RASHID

Srinagar: The most unethical move by many crooked city residents after last year deluge was illegal construction of buildings taking advantage under the banner of ‘flood victims’.

In latest such illegal construction list comes a building at 47 Exchange Road. Though the building was granted permission by Srinagar Municipal Corporation under vide no 755 of 2014 on 19 March last year but the type of construction going on here is in contravention to the given permission as per the letter no SMC/Enf/42-48.
On 27th April last month, a show cause notice was served under first proviso under section 253(1) of Municipal Corporation act 2000 for construction of structure in violation of sanctioned plan by chief enforcement officer, SMC to the owner of the building Mehvish Jeelani.
But despite that, construction was not stopped by the owner forcing SMC to issue notice of demolition on 2nd May 2015 giving a time period of a week to self-demolish the structure.
 “The routine has become here…this owner also succeed in getting stay orders from the court,” said Ward officer.  “Huge money has gone onto the pockets of SMC and SDA officials without whose consent such structures don’t come up,” Showkat Ahmad, a resident alleged. Officials said that from City nerve centre of Lal Chowk to in and around Srinagar City, illegal constructions are galore and grow manifold across the City. The officials, wishing not to be named said failure of the enforcement squads to keep check on the menace have discredited the government run departments including SMC, SDA, UEED, LAWDA “Master Plan is being violated everywhere,” they said. “Eyebrows are being raised over the issuance of building permissions.” Meanwhile according to sources authorities in SMC have issued permissions whereby commercial constructions are being allowed in residential areas.
Pertinently police officials said they were watching the vandalization of the commercial hub of the city “helplessly”. “If it were one or two, we would take action under preventive laws but there are so many that it can lead to law and order problem,” they said.
Some shopkeepers accused the SMC officials of being hand in glove with the building law violators saying the floods have only provided a cover for this activity. “These shops, especially in Regal Lane,
Forest Lane and Abi Guzar Lane are temporary allotments which can be removed any time. Some of them have been converted into two-storey showrooms as recently as last year,” they said. In the other areas of the city also, houses are being constructed illegally without building permission from the authorities concerned. Several houses are coming up on lands owned by temples and temple trusts, in clear violation of court orders. Residents of Gulberg colony alleged that two government employees have constructed houses on a temple land. Recently residents  of  the  Samandar  Bagh  area complain that  in garb  of  making  a  coaching  centre a  massive hotel  has come-up in their vicinity. The residents alleged that the owner of the building first sought permission from the SDA for construction of  a Coaching centre. However in the garb of it started constructing a five storey-hotel. They said that the case was brought to the notice of JK Special Tribunal before a judicial member who heard the case on fast track basis and dismissed the appeal and let the construction go on at the spot.
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