Reviving policy on unauthorised constructions

In order to bring illegal and unauthorised constructions, land use or building use conversions under the umbrella of proper planning framework and to facilitate the implementation of Master plans, the administration under Governor’s rule is well poised and determined to give practical shape to the existing policy. Immediately, around as many as ten thousand violations shall be dealt with as per the provisions of the policy on unauthorised constructions in Srinagar, Jammu and the Holy town of Katra. Curious as it may look, the said policy has expired in March this year itself before its implementation. The much talked of the policy was framed during BJP -PDP Coalition Government to deal with the menace of unauthorised constructions in the twin capital cities and Katra but was kept in the ice box for reasons unknown.
Can instances be there that policies are framed after putting in a lot of toil but never for implementation due to lack of political and administrative will, sending wrong signals and in turn, emboldening the existing violators and proving as “incentives” to prospective violators and land mafia . This hotchpotch breeds brazen and wilful abstinence by many people from approaching authorised state authority to grant building permission, giving room to mushrooming of haphazard and unplanned structures. Host of problems are created due to such structures raised unauthorised(ly).
As it is better late than never, we note with a positive hope of the results of the efforts proposed to be taken in this direction as Housing and Urban Development Department has drafted a proposal to be placed before the State Administrative Council headed by the Governor for approval followed by notification to take on the problem of unauthorised constructions and ancillary issues. The fresh notification would take care of the applicability of the policy framed under Jammu and Kashmir Civic Laws (Special Provisions) Act in respect of extending it beyond March 31, 2018 when it had lapsed even before it could be implemented.
In other words, it means that ten thousand violations identified by the Expert Committee like 4131 in Jammu, 5500 in Srinagar and 58 in Katra will come under action immediately after the issuance of fresh notification leading to the revival of the policy. The question is as to how such violations, appearing to be a routine like affair, could be dealt with. Just by doing paper work and constituting committees followed by “High Powered” Committees, alone could not deliver unless action on the ground was actually initiated with full determination. Agreed, General Administration Department has constituted an Empowered Committee headed by Divisional Commissioners in respect of capital cities and Deputy Commissioner Reasi for Katra town to “deal” with these violations but unless an action plan on the ground actually takes place and the violators made to face the consequences, such Committees are bound to prove ineffective. The end use of formation of such committees needed to be ensured in letter and spirit.
It is commendable, on the face of it, to categorise violations into different segments like built up area, building line, ground coverage, land use, parking norms, building byelaws, Master Plan and other violations to deal violations of each segment separately and not all uniformly. High Court order Dated Dec 22, 2017 in respect of a petition filed by a citizen petitioner needed to be acted upon or an appeal preferred to smoothen the action process against the violators.


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