Saleem Iqbal Qadri

Authorities fail to identify land for SRTC yard in Sopore town

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Sopore, Dec 31: Leaking roofs, rusted pillars, destination boards smeared by dust and grease, broken slabs, vendors, lack of public comfort facilities... all depict the poor condition faced by commuters at the Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) yard in north Kashmir’s Sopore.

The building in which the JK SRTC office functions is also in a dilapidated condition and is yet to see a fresh coat of paint. Even the JKSRTC staff is finding it difficult to operate from the building, which is on the verge of collapse.

“Decades ago, this bus yard was providing good service to people of Sopore town. Around forty buses used to operate from its terminal to different routes including Bandipora, Kupwara, Baramulla and Srinagar but unfortunately the higher officials of JKSRTC, State Administration and District Administration abandoned the bus yard as a result the yard turned into a garbage dumping site,” said a local, Abrar Hassan.

Talking to Kashmir Images, JKSRTC Workers Union Chairman, Wajahat Hussain Durrani said: “On May 24 this year, District level administration along with Sopore Police seized the Sopore depot yard, and seized the vehicles of the department and shifted them to District Police Line (DPL) Sopore.”

Durrani alleged that administration forcibly broke the depot yard gate and the drained out fuel from government petrol pump.

“In 2010, unknown person set ablaze the yard due to which the building suffered huge damage and since then authorities are in deep slumber as they have failed to renovate the building,” said an official posted at SRTC yard, who wished not to be named.

On 28 September 2018, a minutes of meeting held by the Advisor (G) to Governor regarding interdepartmental Issues/Illegal occupation of JKSRTC land/Assets in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to minutes of the meeting ( a copy lies with Kashmir Images) Advisor (G) desired that such proposals for use of SRTC lans/Assests on commercial lines needs to be explored and decision were taken regarding JKSRTC Depot Land at Sopore “Matter pertains to rehabilitation/compensation to JKSRTC in lieu of 4 Kanals of SRTC land taken over by District Administration , Baramulla at Sopore for rehabilitation of Street Vendors , transfer by Govt. of 4 kanals alternate land ( free of cost) shall be processed by Deputy Commissioner Baramulla / Divisional Commissioner Kashmir for allotment to JKSRTC within a month,” it reads.

Four months have passed find the land for JKSRTC depot Sopore, authorities in Baramulla have failed to find the land and did not have time to talk on this issue.

When Kashmir Images contacted Additional Deputy Commissioner Sopore, Ashiq Hussain Lilly, he said: “We have selected two locations, Tulibal and New Bus Stand at Model Town Sopore, for accommodating SRTC Sopore depot and also a detailed report has been submitted to the government for earliest approval.”

“I am trying my best to resolve the land issue of SRTC and I hope government will approve the land rights,” he added.

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