Nearly 11 lakh kanals State, Nazool, EP land still under encroachments in J&K

Govt agencies virtually surrender before mafia
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Jan 4: Notwithstanding repeated directions from the highest court of the State, nearly 11 lakh kanals of State, Nazool and Evacuee Property (EP) land has remained under unauthorized occupation in the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir. This has clearly established that all the concerned Government agencies have virtually surrendered before the land mafia, which is allegedly enjoying the backing of influential politicians.
On the basis of information furnished in the Legislative Assembly about five years back, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) came to be filed before the Division Bench of the State High Court and accordingly numerous directions were passed for retrieval of the encroached land in a time-bound manner.
Finally, in the year 2016 both the Divisional Commissioners on the directions of the highest court of the State submitted in 13 volumes the district-wise encroachments and the list of encroachers.
In the month of February last year, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan and the then Divisional Commissioner Jammu Dr Pawan Kotwal were personally called in the court and conveyed serious concerns over dilly-dallying approach in retrieval of land despite identification of encroachers.
Accordingly, a Division Bench of the High Court, while directing the concerned agencies of the State to promptly retrieve the land from the encroachers keeping in view its magnitude, had explicitly told both the Divisional Commissioners to furnish district-wise details indicating the persons against whom eviction proceedings have been commenced as claimed by them and status in each case.
However, despite clear directions from the High Court no seriousness was shown in retrieval of the encroached land and even Divisional Commissioners stopped exerting pressures on the concerned agencies in the districts for strictly implementing the court orders.
This can be gauged from the fact that 9.53 lakh kanals of State and Nazool land and over one lakh kanals of Evacuee Property land is still under un-authorized occupation in all the districts of Kashmir valley and Jammu region.
According to the information furnished by the Revenue Minister to MLA M Y Tarigami in the Legislative Assembly, 16,64,119 kanals of State/Nazool land was under unauthorized occupation in the State. Moreover, 1,11,119 kanals of EP land was also under the illegal possession of different persons. However, it has been claimed that 7,10,360 kanals of State/Nazool land and 1422 kanals of EP land has been retrieved by the concerned agencies.
This clearly indicates that 9,53,759 kanals of State/Nazool land and 1,09,697 kanals of EP land is still under the unauthorized occupation. However, it has not been revealed as to what steps are being taken to ensure retrieval of such a huge chunk of land in both the regions of the State strictly as per the directions of the High Court.
“The retrieval of land is only on the papers and on ground the land continues to be in the possession of unauthorized occupants”, official sources said while pointing towards non-submission to the High Court the district-wise details of the persons against whom eviction proceedings have either been completed or commenced.
As per the official figures, 38,647 kanals of State/Nazool land is still under encroachment in Srinagar district, 18,309 kanals in Budgam, 33,994 kanals in Ganderbal, 52,307 kanals in Kupwara, 88,261 kanals in Kulgam, 29,016 kanals in Anantnag, 33,821 kanals in Shopian, 17,444 kanals in Bandipora, 43,345 kanals in Pulwama and 54,426 kanals in Baramulla.
As far as Jammu province is concerned, 62,195 kanals of State/Nazool land continues to be under encroachment in Kathua, 44,996 kanals in Samba, 1,22,669 kanals in Jammu, 22,908 kanals in Udhampur, 59,314 kanals in Reasi, 65,022 kanals in Ramban, 12,733 kanals in Doda, 11,201 kanals in Kishtwar, 1,15,067 kanals in Rajouri and 28,534 kanals in Poonch.
The most shocking aspect is that against 1,11,119 kanals of Evacuee Property land under encroachment in the State only 1422 kanals of land has been retrieved by the concerned agency thereby establishing that it has virtually surrendered before the unauthorized occupants.
In Budgam, Kupwara, Kulgam, Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama and Baramulla districts no encroachment was removed from the Evacuee Property land. Similarly, no such exercise has been carried out in Kathua and Reasi districts of Jammu province.


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