268 Kanal State land retrieved, 45 Shops sealed, 2 Razed in Ramban
At least 45 shops were sealed and two others demolished during the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Banihal township of Ramban district on Sunday, officials said. Two political activists were taken into preventive custody before the start of the drive to retrieve the state land along the sub-district hospital road amid tight security arrangements, they said.
A team of revenue officials, led by Banihal Tehsildar Imtiyaz Ahmad, had on Saturday served notices on the owners of the shops, mostly pharmacies and clinical laboratories, triggering a protest. The shopkeepers, along with local residents, staged a sit-in at the tourist hostel, however, a police team swooped on the protesters around midnight and two sarpanches — Mohd Ilyas Wani of the Democratic Azad Party and Qaiser Hamid Sheikh of the Congress — were taken into preventive custody, officials said.
Additional security personnel were deployed across the town. The shops that were sealed, included 22 pharmacies, nine clinical laboratories and five optical shops, officials said. “The shops have come up on the encroached state land over the years. These have been handed over to Municipal Committee, Banihal, after being sealed as per the law,” the Tehsildar said.
He said eight marlas of state land, under occupation of a private school, were also freed during the drive. So far, 40 per cent of the encroachment has been removed.
Pervez Hamid Sheikh, president, Beopar Mandal of Banihal, requested the district administration to take into account the plight of poor shopkeepers, who have lost their livelihood, and return the shops. More than 300 people have been rendered jobless by the closure of nearly 50 shops, he added.
Meanwhile, The Revenue Department Ramban retrieved prime State land measuring 268 kanal from different parts of Ramban district on Saturday.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that 44 kanal State land was retrieved in Batote, 55 kanal in Rajgarh, and 169 in Ramban. The spokesman said that 44 kanal and 1 marla State land was retrieved from encroachers at village Tringla in tehsil Batote.
He said, similarly, 55 kanal and 5 marla of state land was retrieved in tehsil Rajgrah.
The spokesman said that both the drives were led by the concerned Tehsildars along with the teams of the Revenue Department.
He said that intensifying the anti-encroachment drive, Tehsildar Ramban also retrieved 169 kanal state land and sealed a big structure including prime State land measuring 3 kanal and 14 marla at Maitra in Ramban town.
Giving details, the Revenue Department said that the retrieved State land was being handed over to different departments for the construction of public infrastructure.
The official spokesman said that after detailed deliberations, the Agriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries and Rural Development Department have submitted formal requirements for the transfer of State land portions for the creation of assets and infrastructure.
He said that Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ramban, Mussarat Islam, in a series of meetings held recently directed the officers of the Revenue Department to consult Divisional Forest Officers for transfer of a large chunk of State land to their department adjoining to forests, especially undulating.
The officials said that the district administration was in process of completing an inventory of retrieved State land and to subsequently transfer the same to the departments as per requirement.
300 persons lost livelihood: Traders’ body
- Requesting the administration to return the shops, Pervez Hamid Sheikh, president, Beopar Mandal, Banihal, says over 300 persons have been rendered jobless with the closure of nearly 50 shops.
- Traders along with area residents and two sarpanches were taken into preventive custody on Saturday night during a protest.