JDA demolition triggers corruption allegations

Srinagar, Aug 1: An early morning demolition of select houses in an illegal housing settlement in Jammu on July 30, has triggered a serious reaction by the resident alleging massive corruption in the Jammu Development Authority. Residents said they had been approached for making payments to the officials and the denial led to quick demolitions.
Residents, mostly from Poonch border, have said they were living in the settlement near Bahu Fort along with hundreds of other families for last 30 years. Most of them are labourers who earn their livelihood as daily wagers and live in make-shift homes around Qasim Nagar.
“We were asked by Raman Bhall to set up these one room houses,” one of the female residents, whose home was pulled down. “We work as labourers and educate our kids in local schools.”
She told reporters that the JDA official – she mentioned a name – has been collecting money from them. “Last time, he took one lakh rupees and now he was demanding more,” she alleged. “The denial led to the quick demolition.”
Her statement was supported by all the residents who said a particular officer is frequenting the locality and seeking money. They identified a number of under-construction homes, in which, the particular officer has taken his money, they alleged. They went accused the officer of coming with “very indecent proposals”.
Residents said the entire colony is illegal and if the JDA has to remove the occupation, they should do to the entire locality. “Why single out a few,” one senior resident said. “These families are labourers and cannot afford what is being sought from them.”