SMC officials under scanner for allowing illegal constructions

Srinagar: The Srinagar Municipal Corporation officials have come under the scanner for allegedly allowing illegal and facilitate constructions in Srinagar.

Sources told KNS that Principal Secretary Housing and Urban Development Dheeraj Gupta has appointed Farooq Ahmad Rather Director Housing and Urban Development Department to hold an enquiry into the allegations against several SMC officials for allowing violation and facilitate illegal constructions in Karanagar.

The officials against whom probe has been ordered include former Ward Officer, former Junior Building Inspector, former Chief Enforcement Officer, former Enforcement Officer, and Additional Enforcement Officer.

Sources further told KNS that enquiry team has been directed to submit the report within a month.

Over the years hundreds of illegal constructions have taken place in the state.

The state cabinet in 2017 approved a policy on illegal structures in twin capital cities of the state and for Katra town. In the policy, ceiling has been fixed for regularisation of such structures after imposing hefty penalty on the violators while as major violations of land use and building bye-laws will face demolition.

The government also formulated two separate committees headed by divisional commissioners of each region to decide on illegal constructions in Srinagar and Jammu. While for Katra, the Deputy Commissioner Reasi led committee was to decide on illegal constructions built before December 2016.

An official of the Housing and Urban Development Department said that thousands of illegal constructions have come up in Srinagar and Jammu districts over the years.

The official said a high-level official committee constituted by the government in 2009 to report on master plan violations, had identified and compiled a comprehensive report of around 3000 illegal structures in the Srinagar city alone.

The official that the mandate of the committees was to decide on illegal constructions raised up over the years.

“The committees was to decide whether any illegal construction built before December 2016 could be regularised or not. The non-regularised constructions was to be demolished by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Jammu Municipal Corporation and district administration Reasi in Katra town,” he said.

As per the policy, only 50% of such violations will be regularized after obtaining penalty from the violators and by enforcing rectification wherever feasible. Violations beyond 50% was to be demolished through the enforcement wing of respective agencies.

Similarly, only 25% of the land use violations was to be regularized after charging hefty penalty from the violators while as remaining violations will be demolished. (KNS)