With the alleged patronage of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the latest accused to use the “tool of flood” for getting building permission for his house is Hilal Matta from Natipora of uptown, Srinagar.
His name hasn’t appeared in the flood victims list with partial/fully damaged status prepared by the concerned Tehsildar after last year flood. He was not given any compensation cheque after flood for being partial/fully damaged except Rs 3800 which everyone got from the area. But still he allegedly managed to fabricate a compensationcheque of Rs 75000 dated November 18, 2014. The cheque was disowned by the Tehsildar Chanapora later. All the copies of all the documents quoted in the story are lying with Rising Kashmir
Interestingly, the accused has lodged a damage report vide no 1164/flood 15/CHP stating partially damaged on July 30, 2015 nearly 11 months after flood. The need to lodge a police complaint arose when a day before, July 29, his neighbour, Ubaid Ahmad made a complaint against his “illegal construction” at SMC office.
The accused Hilal and his neighbour, Ubaid are residents of the Azad Basti, Natipora. As almost flood water gushed into every house there, so a cheque of Rs 3800 was also given to Hilal. But this cheque was not enough to get building permission, so he fabricated acheque given to fully damaged category, alleged his neighbour Ubaid and endorsed the concerned Tehsildar.
In July, 2015 Hilal is said to have begun constructing his new house after “manually dismantling his old”. At that time, his neighbours convened a meeting and warned him of consequences.
Without any SMC permission, Hilal is said to have completed the plinth of the structure forcing his neighbor Ubaid to lodge a complaint with Chief Enforcement officer SMC on July 29, against receipt no 3801. For time being, the construction was stopped.
Next day, the accused goes to Police station Chanapora and lodged a damage report—as was compulsory for all flood victims.
To pave way for smooth construction, Hilal applied for building permission on August 7, in the name of her mother Hajira under file no 4030. He allegedly employs a drafstman ofSMC, Zahoor Wanchoo, to help the file move smoothly in the SMC office.
On October 7, his neighbor Ubaid reaches SMC to follow up the complaint lodged previously regarding the building permission.
After two days, Ubaid again goes to ‘front office flood’ SMC where he is told by officials that the file no 4030 is lying in Joint Commissioner’s office (JCP) sent on September 30 through DTP(L)/563.
Further, Personal Assistant (PA) of JCP reveals we had asked Hilal to submit photographs of the flooded house and he did it but if “you have any complaint, then do it in writing”. Ubaid claims the photographs provided are fake “not of his own house”.
On October 10, Ubaid makes a written complaint with a copy to Chief Enforcement officer, JCP and Khilafwarzi officer. Ubaid asked PA of JCP, “Show me this file no 4030 and PA orders his peon to bring the file.” To Ubaid’s astonishment, peon comes with a reply “Sir, I think file is lost.”
But PA assures Ubaid that his complaint is accepted and file lies in his office.
Meanwhile, seeing the complexity of the case growing with stiff opposition from the neighbours, Hilal changes construction site. His neighbor gets a report from the ward officer about the same and presents that to the CEO SMC. The CEO further refers the report to JCP.
On October 13, Ubaid again visit JCP office where his PA denies having the said file and asks to check in front office flood. “I get in written from front office flood that the file is lying in JCP through DTP(L) 563 on September 30,” said Ubaid.
When Ubaid reaches back to JCP office, a peon confides him and reveals about one draftsman to have followed the file keenly (these middlemen speeds up the corruption cases).
On October 15, Ubaid again goes to PA JCP and rebukes him for not being serious towards the issue. To his shock, PA replies him which Ubaid quoted as, “Permission has already been granted to Hilal on October 9 vide order no 683 and I could not help this ‘power of corruption’.”
Next, Ubaid visits to Tehsildar Office Chanapora regarding flood cheque where he is said that the cheque was issued in the name of Mohammad Jamal Rather S/O Mohammad Rajab Rather R/O Rambagh and not the mother of Hilal who has fabricated it.
Tehsildar immediately writes a letter to SMC Commissioner vide no 748/TCH/CH/15 dated October 19 asking to put the building permission in abeyance and provide verifies documents “so that a legal action be taken for fabricating the documents”.
Then SMC Commissioner refers Ubaid to JCP who inturn refers to Divisional town planner where he is allegedly harassed by the DTP. “DTP told me there is no suchcheque in the file, whose photocopy was already provided to me by the peon, and then I asked how could have given permission on flood track basis if they had no cheque, he again harassed me,” alleged Ubaid.
When asked about the flood damage complaint lodged 11 months after September flood, SSP Srinagar, Amit Kumar said, “There is no fixed time frame set by the authorities to lodge flood damage complaint, so police has to file it but finally it the duty of revenue officials to verify.”
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Tehsildar Chanapora, Shahbaz Ahmad said, “I have written to the SMC for providing me verified documents so that legal action could be taken if floodcheques is found fabricated but I am still waiting to get the documents from them.”
When asked the question whether “verified documents” have been provided to the Tehsildar Chanapora in reply to his letter “so that action may be taken”, SMCCommissioner, Showkat Ahmad Zargar replied, “I have thousands of files here, how do I get to remember any particular case. Better If you send the complainant here to my office.”