DB seeks info on PDA land

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, July 13: The High Court has sought information for retrieval of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) land and instruction from PDA with regard to construction of a stadium on the banks of River Lidder in Pahalgam tourist resort within two weeks.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar has sought the directions after the bench was informed that the construction of stadium on the banks of river is under process and the same be directed to be stopped as it is in contravention of the orders of the court.
The court was apprised that there is blanket ban on any construction within a radius of 200 meters of the River Lidder on either side.
“Counsel for the respondents prays for and is allowed two weeks’ time to seek instructions and file response if any Stadium is being constructed, if so, whether it is within the prohibited area”, the DB directed.
With regard to action taken for cancellation of deeds and documents made by the then officials of PDA and Revenue officials whereby the PDA land was acquired through oral gifts deeds to have been made by donors to their close and trusted supporting employees and their associates, court granted two weeks time to PDA for ATR with regard to cancellation of these manipulated deeds.
PDA submitted that the appropriate action in accordance with law has been taken for the cancellation of the effect of the said gift deeds and that the mutation entries in that regard have been reversed. He prayed for some time to bring on record the relevant orders passed by the authorities concerned for changing the revenue entries.
The investigation in the FIR had been investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and it has been found that the role of the then Chief Town Planner, Kashmir Mir Naseem Ahmad appears to be a dubious one and that sometime in the year 1991, he had dishonestly and fraudulently acquired about 29 kanals and 13 marlas of land in planning Sub-Zone A-14 through oral gifts shown to have been made by donors to his close/trusted supporting employees and his associates.
The charge sheet was submitted and the trial court vide order dated 6th February 2016 framed the charge against the accused persons including other officials. However, on the petitions filed by two of them and order dated 16th October 2018 and now the matter is sub-judice before the Supreme Court.
It is as per the pleadings before the court the then Chief Town Planner Mir Naseem, Nazir Ahmad Magrey (Assistant Town Planning Organization) and Hamid Ahmad Wani (Joint Commissioner Planning SMC) with the land mafia and influential hoteliers having nexus with the bureaucrats working in the constituted PDA designed the Master Plan for the resort to serve their personal interests.
These officials, as per the pleadings, have dishonestly and fraudulently acquired huge land at Pahalgam which arbitrarily induced the sharp increase in the value of the land. One of the accused officials had challenged the FIR before High Court for quashing the same. However his plea has been dismissed by the court.
In is averred that in contravention of the Forest Act, the areas which should have been preserved as green, and therefore, non-permissible for construction have been made permissible for construction and residential villages have been shown as green belts which deprived the local inhabitants of their right to construct their house to live.
Pleadings further reveal that BOCA has issued permissions for construction of hotels, guest houses and huts in favour of influential permission holders and they were allowed to construct their buildings as per their own wishes by committing open violation of building bye-laws.
It is further averred that the demarcation of PDA land arbitrarily for the purpose to serve the interest of the bureaucrats and land mafia in the area, it has not only defeated the purpose of the Master Plan but has caused huge problems to the people both who are related with the tourism or agriculture.
According to the FIR registered with the then VOK now ACB, the members of the Master Plan committee resorted to misrepresentation, manipulation and distortions, whereby it was proposed that sub zone be de-notified to permit construction of hutments and other facilities in Master Plan in order to achieve the mischievous design for the officials against whom FIR is registered.