Monday, June 27News That Matters

HC asks govt’s response to plea alleging illegal construction of stadium in Pahalgam

Also seeks details about retrieval of land that was grabbed fraudulently

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday sought response within two weeks from government authorities with regard to the construction of a sports stadium on the banks of river Lidder in Pahalgam tourist resort.

Counsel Bhat Fayaz Ahmad moved an application before the court praying that the construction of a stadium on the banks of Lidder be directed to be stopped as it was in contravention of the order of this court dated 18th December 2014 which puts a blanket ban on construction within a radius of 200 meters of river Lidder on either side.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar directed the Additional Advocate General (AAG) to seek instructions and file response within two weeks on whether a stadium is being constructed, and “if so, whether it is within the prohibited area”.

In the meantime the court sought information from Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) for retrieval of land which was grabbed fraudulently under the earlier Master Plan of 2005-2025.

The court while giving reference to its order dated 31st March 2021 noted that pursuant to the FIR, investigations were completed and charge sheet was submitted but the charge sheet was quashed by the High Court and the matter is now sub-judice before the Supreme Court.

“In regard to the quashing of the Master Plan 2005-2025, it is stated in the order that a new and revised Master Plan 2015-2032 has been enforced… the prayer in that regard has also come to an end inasmuch as the Master Plan 2005-2025 has ceased to exist,” the court recorded.

The bench said that the only thing which remains to be considered in this litigation was the action taken by the authorities for the purpose of cancellation of the fake and fraudulent gift deeds which were allegedly manipulated by the officers.

Counsel M A Chashoo appearing for the Pahalgam Development Authority submitted that appropriate action in accordance with law has been taken for the cancellation of the effect of the said gift deeds and that the mutation entry in that regard has been reversed.

“He prays for and is allowed two weeks’ time to bring on record the relevant orders passed by the authorities concerned for changing the revenue entries,” the court directed.

Earlier, the investigation in an FIR no. 27/2008 led by the Anti-Corruption Bureau had found the role of the then Chief Town Planner, Kashmir, Mir Naseem Ahmad as doubtful.

The ACB had stated that 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.

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) along with land mafia and influential hoteliers having nexus with bureaucrats working in the constituted PDA designed the Master Plan to serve their personal interests.

These officials, as per the pleadings, dishonestly and fraudulently acquired huge land at Pahalgam which arbitrarily induced a sharp increase in the value of the land.

The pleadings further reveal that the BOCA 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 was 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 had not only defeated the purpose of the Master Plan but also caused huge problems to people related with tourism and agriculture.

 





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