Unabated Encroachment Of Migrantsí Land In Valley

Unabated Encroachment Of Migrantsí Land In Valley

26 December 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Avtar Bhat

Jammu: Despite enactment of law in 1997 by State Government, the encroachment of migrants immovable property went on unabated in Kashmir Valley with the authorities at the helm of affairs acting as mute spectators. As per the J&K Migrant Immovable Property ( Preservation, Protection and Restrain of Distress Sale Act) 1997, the Deputy Commissioners are the custodian of migrants land in Valley and have to ensure its protection, but in various cases the concerned DCs have also failed to act in accordance with law with the result the land mafia is making a hay day. According to sources, hundreds Kanals of the migrants land and property has been grabbed by the land mafia enjoying the patronage of revenue officials and politicians at various places in Valley and at many places the migrants have entered into legal battles with encroachers for restoration of their land while the law gives clear instructions that in case of objections by the land owner regarding the sale, the concerned DCs without losing any minute have to maintain the status quo of such land and restore it to its owner. Even the law empowers the Deputy Commissioners to take the cognizance on its own in case they came to know that the migrant immovable property has been grabbed by any person and take possession of the said land. However in most of the cases, this has not happened as the DCs have chosen to remain a silent spectator to the same, sources said. The failure on the part of the district administration to act against the land mafia and ensure the protection of the migrantsí immovable property has also resulted into owner Ėmafia conflict in various places, sources added. In Chowgam village of tehsil Devsar in South Kashmir district of Kulgam over eight Kanals of land of Vijay Raina including the apple orchard has been grabbed by local land mafia in the village. Vijay Raina said that when his family visited the village this year to sprinkle pesticides to the apple trees they were thrashed by the mafia group which has grabbed the land. Raina has approached the concerned authorities and even the CMís Grievances Cell for restoration of his ancestral land but to no avail. He also approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and despite its intervention the land has not been restored to aggrieved party till date. Interestingly the revenue authorities of Kulgam in reply to CMís letter stated that the encroachment on the said land was removed and it has been restored to its owner when the land is still lying in the possession of encroachers, said Raina. In another land encroachment case over 76 kanals of prime land belonging to Anil Wangnoo and others situated at Sarai Dangarpora in tehsil Sumbal of Bandipora district of North Kashmir has been encroached upon by land mafia. Mr Wangnoo and party approached every one in administration but till date his land has not been restored creating unnecessary hurdles. Mr Wangnoo has been officially intimated that the land is in the custody of the Revenue Department and can be handed over to the owners whenever they approach the concerned authorities. But after Wangnoo visited the village to fence the land, the authorities as well local people create hurdles in it. Over four kanals of land belonging to Vinod Razdan at Wataduroo Galwanpora, in Central Kashmir district of Budgam and when Vinod visited the area for removal of the encroachment last year he was assaulted by the mafia group. Vinod said when he approached the concerned authorities including D C Budgam and Police for the removal of the encroachment he was dodged by the authorities instead of taking steps for restoration of his property. Likewise over four kanals of land belonging to Shadi Lal Kanth of Nihama Handwara in North Kashmir district of Kupwara has been grabbed after mutation of land records. Kanth said that he approached every one in administration right from Patwari to Revenue Minister but his land has neither been restored nor records were rectified. In another case an illegal construction was made by a mafia group over three kanals of land belonging to Prabhu Ji Warikoo at Lalooshesh Ghari, Hyderproa Srinagar and the district administration has failed to maintain the status quo of this prime land. In Humhama tehsil of Budgam district the land of Bihari Lal Dhar has been grabbed by a mafia group soon after the migration and since then he is running from pillar to post for its restoration. Despite the directives of Chief Minister the concerned authorities have failed to restore the land to migrant family, said Dhar. Even at various places the Government Departments have also grabbed the migrant land in Valley. Over two kanals of land belonging to Surinder Miya in Kocha Nidan, Rainawari Srinagar district in Central Kashmir has been converted into a public park by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in 2000 and one of the Ministerís of coalition Government inaugurated the same. The family was neither approached by the authorities for taking possession of the land nor provided compensation. The Park has been named as Alamdar Park by the SMC. However when contacted, Revenue Secretary, Vinod Kaul said that DCs are custodians of migrantsí property and there can be no distress sale as Divisional Commissioner has to ascertain that the land was sold as per the market rate by the parties. He said over 5,200 sale deeds have been made by Kashmiri migrants since the enactment of J&K Distress Sale Act 1997. Denying that there was alarming rise in the encroachment of migrantsí land, he said the concerned DCs act swiftly whenever they are approached by the aggrieved parties in this regard. However there can be some isolated cases and the Government will also restore the same after proper verification to the claimants of the property.