Govt paces up process to retrieve ‘illegally encroached land’

Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have sped up action across the union territory to remove encroachments on lands classified as state land, ‘Kahcharie’ (grazing land) and those allotted under the scrapped ‘Roshni’ scheme.

Eviction notices have been served to occupants of state land, Kahcharie land and Roshni scheme beneficiaries to vacate the possession of such lands after self-demolition of structures raised on such lands or face legal action.

The government has passed directions to all the 20 district development commissioners in the Valley and the Jammu division to report compliance of the government order that has set January 31 as the deadline for implementation of the eviction order.

In many districts like Srinagar and Baramulla revenue department officials assisted by the police have demolished compound walls and some other structures those were raised on such lands during the last many decades.

There has been opposition to this decision from almost all other political parties in the UT which has pushed the local BJP leadership on the back foot.

Local BJP leaders are saying that the poor should not be uprooted because of this order as the rich and powerful people have occupied the major chunk of such lands.

On their part, authorities appear to be determined to take the decision to its logical conclusion.

Affected parties have also moved applications in the Supreme Court seeking directions to restrain the authorities from carrying out such evictions. These cases have not been heard yet although the apex court has decided to list them for hearing.

Official sources say once implemented, the lands from which encroachments would be removed will be in multiples of thousands of acres.

What remains to be seen is that whether the government takes its decision to logical conclusion or not before the Assembly elections.

There are strong indications that the much awaited elections would be held here in April-May this year.

It is not clear yet whether the central leadership of the BJP would agree to ‘selective demolitions’ as favoured by the local leaders.  

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