*Fate of 4245 court cases of H&UDD hanging in balance
JAMMU, Jan 31: As no seriousness has so far been shown towards numerous directions of the State High Court, over 54,000 kanals of Jammu Development Authority (JDA) land has remained un-demarcated in Jammu and Samba districts thereby leaving enough room for the mafia to carry out their illegal activities. Moreover, the drive to evict encroachments from the demarcated land is going on at a snail’s pace because of slackness on the part of Enforcement Wing of the JDA.
This can be gauged from the reply furnished by none else than the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, who is also Minister Incharge Housing and Urban Development Department, in response to the question of BJP MLA from Jammu West Sat Sharma in the Legislative Assembly today.
According to the official figures, vide Government Order No.Rev(ND) 46 dated January 1, 1973 a total of 35353 kanals of land was transferred from Nazool Department to Jammu Development Authority. Similarly, under SRO-262 (Roshni Act, 2004) dated August 9, 2004, a total of 40480 kanals and four marlas of land was transferred to JDA. With this, the total land transferred to JDA increased to 75833 kanals and four marlas.
Out of this only 17960 kanals and 18 marlas of land has been demarcated till date and 54548 kanals and seven marlas of land remained un-demarcated despite the fact that Division Bench of State High Court, in a Public Interest Litigation, has issued numerous directions from time to time for completion of demarcation exercise in a time bound manner so as to prevent land mafia from encroaching the valuable land of JDA.
The JDA has regularized 751 kanals and 13 marlas of land under un-authorized colonies vide different Government orders and utilized 8889 kanals and 18 marlas for different purposes. However, 12082 kanals of land is still under encroachment against which only 3884 kanals and 8 marlas has been retrieved from the encroachers thereby establishing that eviction drive is going on at a snail’s pace.
At present, Jammu Development Authority has only 1789 kanals and 15 marlas of vacant land in its possession, the Deputy Chief Minister admitted in the Assembly, adding even 2647 kanals of demarcated land has been encroached in different parts of Jammu and Samba districts.
If the mafia can encroach demarcated land what would be the fate of 54548 kanals of un-demarcated land remains a million dollar question.
Notwithstanding these shocking figures, the Deputy Chief Minister claimed that all efforts were being made to retrieve encroached land through continuous anti-encroachment drives with the help of police.
Though the failure to retrieve the encroached land has been attributed to litigations in various courts of law yet the fact remains that Jammu Development Authority is not vigorously pursuing the court cases without which the land cannot be retrieved.
The slackness in regular follow-up of the court cases can be gauged from the reply of Deputy Chief Minister, who informed the House that 594 cases of JDA are pending for disposal in different courts. Of these, 247 cases are pending in the courts for more than five years and 79 cases are waiting for the final settlement despite expiry of more than 10 years.
He claimed that not only in 594 cases of JDA the Housing and Urban Development Department has also filed objections in the cases pertaining to Srinagar Development Authority, Jammu Municipal Corporation, Srinagar Municipal Corporation and other wings along with the application for vacation of stay. However, he didn’t inform as to in how many cases the department has succeeded in getting the stay vacated from the courts.
According to the figures provided by the Deputy Chief Minister, a total of 4245 cases of different wings of Housing and Urban Development Department are pending for disposal in various courts of law only because of lack of proper follow-up.
All this clearly establishes that ensuring demarcation of entire land transferred to JDA from time to time, checking encroachments and creating land bank are least priorities not only for those who are at the helm of affairs in the JDA but also for top officers of the Housing and Urban Development Department.