Srinagar, Jan 18:
The Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Wednesday started a drive to evict encroachers from state land in Baramulla district, even as public notices were issued to violators in other districts of the Valley to remove illegal constructions within seven days, officials said. “The drive is going on in Baramulla district and we have recovered more than 12 hectares of state land or ‘kacharai’ (common) land from illegal possession,” Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, Syed Sehrish Asgar said.
He said the district administration had adopted a unique approach to ensure that these tracts of recovered land are not encroached again.
“We have taken teams from various departments along in this drive. The recovered land is handed over to agriculture, sericulture or any other department as per feasibility so that these lands are not encroached again. Wherever playing fields are needed, we are providing land for that as well,” the official added.
The authorities also issued notices in other districts of the Valley, directing the encroachers to vacate the state land within seven days or face action.
Political parties like the National Conference, PDP, Peoples Conference and others have criticised the move, saying the occupants are generally poor people who constructed their dwellings on these state land.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also held a protest against the drive in Srinagar on Wednesday.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat Conference also expressed concern over the anti-encroachment drive, saying the step will disempower people in the Union territory.
“Hurriyat Conference expresses great anguish at the administration’s move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir land laws and revoke the rights of local communities to cultivate state, community and evacuee land in order to facilitate the creation of private land banks and hand them over to outsiders to set up industries in Jammu and Kashmir,” it said in a statement.
“All these are attempts to accelerate and facilitate the settlement of outsiders in Jammu and Kashmir in order to bring about demographic change in the composition of the region, while keeping the locals entangled in fighting for basic sustenance…,” it added.–(PTI)