Master Plan violations
In brazen violation of Master Plan, scores of illegal constructions are coming up in almost all the areas of the City with the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, and areas like Karan Nagar and Jawahar Nagar bearing the brunt.
The concerned, particularly the enforcement squad of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, have been allowing illegal constructions in the election year when political intervention into the violations is not beings ruled out.
The enforcement squad of the SMC seems to be hand in glove with the violators. At places in the City center where some demolition drive was undertaken, the violators were allowed to resume work within hours of the “enforcement drama.”
At places where a single-storey under construction shop was initially demolished, the SMC allowed the violators to complete even two floor structures. The same, as per complainants, holds true for areas like Regal Chowk and Sheikh Bagh where scores of illegal constructions have been allowed.
With main shops closed and no business activities in the commercial hub, those undertaking illegal construction, seem to be reaping benefits of the devastation which the City met in the recent floods.
SHOP LINE AGAINST WALL
In areas like Karan Nagar if a compound wall had collapsed in the devastative floods, the concerned authorities allowed construction of shop lines. “Residential areas like Karan Nagar, Jawahar Nagar and Raj Bagh which have already remained the victims of Master Plan violations are for now facing the worst,” said a civil society activist saying they would move High Court against the “wrongdoings of the concerned agencies”.
In Soura locality as per complainants several illegal commercial establishments are coming up. “Many structures have come up on the Namath,” said a delegation of concerned locals.
Finding illegal constructions mushrooming, a senior official who has earlier served the SMC at a key post and would swear by his “honesty and discipline” allegedly found it opportune to undertake some “small illegal constructions at his villa”. Sources said his loyalists in the civic body had asked the official to cash the “wave of illegal constructions.” “When huge malls are being allowed to be constructed illegally who will ask you for minor violations,” the concerned are understood to have told their “former boss.”
While shops and shop lines are coming up in many areas, elsewhere at places like Humhama and Bemina huge commercial complexes are being allowed to be constructed.
CASHING ELECTION FEVER
Sources alleged that some Netas were encouraging the illegal constructions as a part of vote bank politics in the election year not only in the City center but even in the greenbelt along the lake Dal.
With government action against illegal constructions allegedly visible nowhere, the enforcement squads have “guided the violators to complete the work at an earliest when everything in administration is chaotic.” “Given the non serious approach of the government, the enforcement people are minting millions as kickbacks from violators,” said a source privy to the deals.
The brazen violations are coming up at a time when a PIL on Master Plan violations is pending before the state High Court. On the other hand apart from the civic body, Srinagar Development Authority, office of District Development Commissioner and the Revenue officials were bound to keep check on Master Plan violations. But they too seem to have failed.
DR QASBA SPEAKS
When contacted SMC Commissioner said the matter was being seriously looked into. “We’ll demolish all illegal constructions,” he said.