Images News Netwok

Encroached state land worth crores retrieved amid massive protests in Jammu

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Jammu: Authorities on Sunday carried out a massive anti-encroachment drive in different parts of Jammu, triggering protests by people who blocked the Narwal Bypass for several hours, officials said.

An official spokesman said 84 structures, including six large commercial buildings, were demolished during the day-long drive which led to the retrieval of over 260 kanals (32.5 acres) of state land worth crores of rupees from encroachers.

Dozens of structures, including buildings and shops, were demolished partially or completely near the Bathindi crossing on the Narwal Bypass early in the morning by the revenue department amid heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces, the officials said.

Hundreds of people took to streets and blocked the highway by burning tyres and staging a sit-in against what they termed was a “selective drive” to dislodge a particular community.

Additional Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, Shyambir had a tough time maintaining law and order and was seen persuading protesters to lift the blockade with the assurance that the administration will look into their grievances sympathetically.

“We suspended the drive on public demand and asked them to form a committee to raise their issues at the right forum. We are here to address their genuine issues,” he told reporters at the scene of the protest.

Asked about the demand for compensation for the damage, he said the issue of compensation will be decided during deliberations with the committee.

The police officer said the drive was carried out in accordance with the laid down rules to reclaim state land illegally occupied by people, and there was no violation on part of the administration.

However, the protesters accused the district administration of going for “selective” anti-encroachment drives to dislodge the particular community.

“They came around 4 am and started the demolition drive without any prior notice. The law is equal for everyone, but why this selective drive in our areas? Was the government sleeping when the buildings were raised?” Shabir Ahmad, one of the protesters, said.

He said properties worth crores were damaged.

“We have electricity connections and ration cards… there is no justification for the drive. It is nothing but hooliganism,” Ahmad alleged.

Several protesters also claimed to have legal documents for the land in question and said they were occupants of the land for many decades.

An official spokesman said the anti-encroachment drive was launched in Jammu Khas village in the Jammu tehsil and Chhanni Rama village of Bahu tehsil whereby 260 kanals of state land was retrieved during the day-long exercise.

A large patch of 220 kanals of state land located near the Tawi river in Jammu Khas has also been retrieved after dismantling 15 structures, the spokesman said, adding the total value of this patch is estimated to be close to Rs 200 crore as per stamp duty rates.

Another prime patch of land, totalling 40 kanals, situated along the national highway in Chhanni Ramahas also been retrieved simultaneously, the spokesman said.

A total of 52 structures, including six large commercial buildings, situated on this patch have been demolished during the exercise, he said.

The spokesman said the value of this land is estimated to be Rs 56 crore as per stamp duty rates though the market value is much higher owing to large scale commercial establishments that are located in the vicinity and along the highway.

Prominent sign boards depicting state land have been erected at the retrieved sites in order to secure them and prevent re-encroachment attempt by the land grabbers, he said.

Several directives were issued by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and the administration for removal of encroachments on state land.

In pursuance to the directions, an action plan was formulated for retrieval of such land and state land, and over 15,000 kanals of state land was retrieved in Jammu district over the past three months and sign boards stand installed, the spokesman said.

He said the land so retrieved shall be put to gainful use keeping in view the requirements projected by various government departments as well as priorities of the administration.

In a separate exercise, the spokesman said the forest department has retrieved 12 kanals of forest land in Bahu area located along the highway in a demarcated forest area near Raika Environmental Park.

The joint eviction drive was carried out by forest department and police whereby 17 structures were dismantled, he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *