30 houses, shops razed; 274 kanal Govt land retrieved in major Rajouri operation

JCBs demolishing structures during major anti-encroachment drive in Rajouri on Saturday. —Excelsior/Bhat
JCBs demolishing structures during major anti-encroachment drive in Rajouri on Saturday. —Excelsior/Bhat

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU,  Jan 6: In a first ever major operation in Rajouri town,  the District Administration assisted by strong contingent of police and para-military force, involving staff from Revenue, Municipal Committee, R&B and RDD  today removed massive encroachments on State land, demolished over two dozen structures  and retrieved  about 274 kanals of  Government land.
A team of officers led by Deputy Commissioner, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary along with SSP Yougal Manhas, ACD Noor Alam, ACR Qayoom Mir, SDMs Kartar Singh, Abdul Sattar, SDPOs Dr Imtiaz, Jaswant Singh, Iftikhar Choudhary,  Executive Engineer R&B  SA Wani,  Executive Officer Municipal Committee,   Tehsildars and other officers assisted by a 500 strong contingent of police force, workforce of 120 men and more than 20 JCB Machines launched massive operation at round 10 am today, which was carried on for the entire day.
Initially, some people tried to resist the operation but seeing massive police force and officers, they could not dare to resort to violence or  stone pelting.
An official spokesman said that the Administration in a well planned strategy, deployed  teams headed by various officers at various locations simultaneously  and retrieved the prime land at 5 different sites. A stretch of 87  Kanal prime land under illegal constructions was retrieved during the first phase of  operation.

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Another patch of land measuring 163 kanal was retrieved and fenced by the team assisted by  police force in a swift action. Land measuring 12 kanal belonging to Custodian Department and occupied by some locals near District Hospital was also retrieved.  Another prime land located between Abdullah Bridge and new alternate bridge measuring 12  kanal has also been fenced. The value of entire land fenced is around Rs 70-75 crore  as per the notified stamp duty rates, the spokesman said.
The huge fleet of machinery deployed along with the team of officers and police force demolished more than 30 structures which included 14 shops, 11 concrete residential houses, 2 workshops,  one service station and  three sheds apart from a vast network of concrete plinths and foundations. No injury or  violence or any type of clash was  reported during the drive.
The spokesman further said that in view of cold weather the District Administration has also provided temporary accommodation for one week to the  evicted families and necessary arrangements were put in place.
Deputy Commissioner Dr Shahid said that  an enquiry is being conducted into the role of some locals in sale and purchase of  State land  in connivance with the officials of Revenue department  and MCR  in wrongful vesting of  titles or allowing illegal constructions.
Dr Shahid further said that  the eviction and demolition drive will continue for some more time and similar patches of  land will be retrieved shortly. He also claimed that  projects for construction of  parking lot of  1000 vehicles and a recreation park have been approved to be constructed on retrieved land. Administration is also starting construction of circular road from new bridge to District Court complex via Anandpur  Ashram  utilising  the land cleared from the clutches of land grabbers. The role of ‘some influential people’ of the town   has also come under scanner in managing illegal land allotment and then selling land to the people  making huge money.
Meanwhile, some locals told the Excelsior that the structures of some influential politicians have been left out and remained untouched. Most of the people who fell victim today are from outside Rajouri town. They had purchased these land from some locals by spending huge money. They demanded that Patwaris, Girdawars  and Naib Tehsildars concerned who prepared illegal/ forged  papers  should also be booked and action under law taken against them.  Locals of Rajouri town have widely laud the initiative of district administration.


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