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SWD paying Rs 3 lakh as offices rent while 17 kanal own land encroached

Deptt fails to get land vacated even after efforts of 3 yrs

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Feb 16: While the Social Welfare Department is paying a whopping amount  of nearly Rs 3 lakh per month as rent for the private rented  buildings in the winter capital city here, the Department has failed to get its own 17 kanal land vacated from the illegal encroachers.
Official sources told the Excelsior that  the building of Directorate of Social Welfare Jammu, Mission Directorate (ICDS), the office of  Programme Officer (ICDS), Jammu  and at least three more offices of ICDS in Jammu are working in rented buildings. For these offices, the Social Welfare Department is  bearing the burden of nearly Rs 3 lakh per month. Most of the offices remained in the Working Women Hostel at Roopnagar for decade, but this building was vacated during 2014 after Govt pressure. It is interesting to note that even after three years of its vacation, Working Women Hostel has not been made operational and put to use for the working women of the Jammu region.
Virtually lying in deep slumber for the last over 48 years, the J&K Social Welfare Department (SWD)  woke up to claim its  land which has been allegedly encroached upon by the Education Department in Jammu city , only after the Government asked Directorate to vacate Working Women Hostel, which remained under its possession for more than ten years.
The sources further revealed that as per Revenue record available,  this land  measuring 13 kanal and 3 marla under, Khasra No. 281, 282 and 283 was purchased  by the Department of Social Welfare from one Ram Nath Lakra and Romesh Lakra, under Halqa Patoli Brahmana, where  now Govt School in Talab Tilloo is located.   This land was purchased on 22-01-1966 for Rs 17,125 and the registry & `Inteqal’ was entered in the name of Director Social Welfare, Jammu.
Actually this total land was 17 Kanal and as per `Inteqal’, it has been shown only 13 kanal and 3 marla which belonged to SWD. Rest of the land has been grabbed by a few locals with the help of some insiders. The Directorate of Social Welfare Jammu in a letter  No. DSWJ/ Estt/20819-22/14 dated 22-09-2014, flashed to Deputy Commissioner Jammu had requested for demarcation of  the said land of the department. The relevant Revenue record was also provided to the DC Jammu.
Sources further said that the Secretary to Government Social Welfare Department had directed the Directorate of Social Welfare Jammu to vacate the Working Women Hostel building at Roop Nagar in Jammu. About four other offices of the same department were also functioning there.  Though they have moved out but hostel was not opened for the women. No public representative or NGO ever bothered for the women despite the fact that SWD has shown on its site and also communicated to the Govt of India that this women hostel is functional since 2004.
Director Social Welfare Jammu,  Veer Ji Hangloo when contacted said that for getting Department land back from School Education Department the process has been initiated but no proper response has been received from the Education department. They were offering  some other land away from the city.  He said that they have also taken up the matter with the DC Jammu for the same. This prime land is very costly. He admitted that about Rs 95 lakh is being paid as rent of  his own private building per month.
Replying to another  question, he  said the Government should provide the land which is now under the possession of School Education Department or provide alternate site or building.  “We have also approached School Education Department and the State Revenue authorities to provide us our land. There was old beggars home at the site earlier and thereafter, this portion of land was taken over by Education Department. We have also written to the JDA and Estates Department to provide either Government accommodation or State land for construction of Directorate,” the Director maintained.
Another senior officer of SWD when contacted  said that the Government was very much particular about  the functioning of  this hostel. He said in this regard, clear instructions have been issued to the Director, SWD Jammu. He was asked to look out for the much needed arrangements for the same. A warden has been appointed for the Women Hostel and other staff will also be managed with internal arrangement and some additional infrastructure is needed to be raised there and shortly this  Hostel will be made functional, he added.
It is pertinent to mention here that Working Women Hostel having three storey building  and nearly 40 rooms was constructed with the cost of  Rs 1.12 crore at Roop Nagar on Muthi Road in Jammu. The building was inaugurated by the then Social Welfare Minister Mula Ram in 2004-05. The building having capacity of accommodating 120 inmates, was handed over to the State Social Welfare  department by the R&B authorities in 2004.   It was highlighted that the women especially from far flung areas like Doda, Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Kathua besides other parts of Kashmir and Ladakh, who are working in Jammu have to face lot of problems in terms of accommodation.

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