Selling of Kahcharai land, allowing illegal constructions
Even SVC’s intervention fails to yield desirable results
JAMMU, May 21: In the much publicised case of selling Kahcharai land and allowing illegal constructions on the same, the accused officials have remained unpunished as Housing and Urban Development Department is ordering one after another inquiry during the past over two years instead of taking the exercise to the logical conclusion.
The situation is prevailing even after the intervention of the State Vigilance Commission (SVC), which had issued directions to the Deputy Commissioner concerned for prompt action and furnishing of Action Taken Report in the month of February 2017.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in the month of January 2017 a complaint was filed by the inhabitants of Pampore alleging large scale corruption by the officials of the Municipal Committee Pampore and Revenue Department. It was also mentioned in the complaint that these officials had even gone to the extent of selling Kahcharai land and then allowing illegal constructions on the same.
During the course of inquiry into the complaint it came to the fore that encroachment and illegal construction on Kahcharai land had taken place due to wilful negligence of the officials of Revenue Department and Municipal Committee Pampore.
On the basis of this report, the State Vigilance Commission in the month of February 2017 directed the then Deputy Commissioner Pulwama to initiate action against all the accused officials and furnish Action Taken Report. However, no action was taken for the reasons best known to the then Deputy Commissioner, sources informed.
After several months long deep slumber, Government vide Order No.206-HUD dated October 4, 2017 appointed Reyaz Ahmad Wani, the then Director, Urban Local Bodies Kashmir as Inquiry Officer to conduct regular departmental enquiry against Shabir Ahmad Wani, the then Executive Officer of Municipal Committee Pampore, Farooq Ahmed Ganai, the then Dealing Assistant and the then Khilafwarzi Inspector Ali Mohammad Naikoo.
The Inquiry Officer was directed to submit his report within 30 days positively along with his specific recommendations. However, this exercise never reached the logical conclusion and this can be gauged from the latest order of the Housing and Urban Development Department.
“In supersession of all previous orders on the subject, sanction is hereby accorded to the appointment of Farooq Ahmad Rather, Director Urban Local Bodies Kashmir as Inquiry Officer to conduct regular departmental enquiry against Shabir Ahmed Wani, the then Executive Officer of Municipal Committee Pampore, Mushtaq Ahmad Bajard and Zaffar Hussain Shah, the then Tehsildars Pampore, Farooq Ahmed Ganai, the then Dealing Assistant Municipal Committee Pampore and Ali Mohd Naikoo, the then Khilafwarzi Inspector”, read the Government Order No.127-HUD of 2019 issued by Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department few days back.
“The Inquiry Officer shall submit his report within 30 days positively so that the case may be settled without any further delay”, the order further read.
“It is a matter of serious concern that instead of ensuring strict punishment to the accused officials of Revenue Department and Municipal Committee Pampore for the illegalities committed by them, the Housing and Urban Development Department is ordering one after another inquiry”, sources said, adding “how there can be deterrence if such a dilly-dallying approach is adopted in handling the grave issue of selling Kahcharai land and allowing illegal constructions on the same”.
“Had timely action been taken on the directions of the State Vigilance Commission the fate of the inquiry would not have been hanging in balance during the past over two years”, sources said, “since Municipal Committees are prone to the illegal activities time bound action into the cases of illegalities, whenever come to the notice of the Housing and Urban Development Department, which has administrative control over the Urban Local Bodies, should be the norm otherwise these Urban Local Bodies would become den of the corrupt practices”.
They further said, “there is hardly any Municipal Committee in the State in general and Kashmir province in particular where numerous illegalities have not come to fore during the past some years”.