KL NEWS NETWORK
On Saturday afternoon, Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) made a surprising revelation in an e-mailed statement about the possible construction of Sainik Colony in Srinagar. Kashmir Life reproduces the statement verbatim here in larger public interest:
“On 7 May 2016, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah shared on Twitter a government document regarding the confirmation of the allotment of 173 Kanals (21.6 acres) of land at the old Air Field area for construction of the Sainik Colony.
From across the political spectrum statements have been made against and for the allotment of the above-mentioned land. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on record has claimed no such proposal of Sainik Colony is under the consideration of the government, while as the BJP representatives have been advocating for the establishment of the Sainik Colony. The public discussion so far is revolved around accusations and counter accusation between Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, whether the land has been allotted or not and whether Omar Abdullah or Mehbooba Mufti has been responsible for the allocation of the land for Sainik colony.
JKCCS has been able to ascertain that the land which has been sought by army for the construction of Sainik colony at Old Air Field area is already witnessing huge construction work from last around 2 years. So far at least 47 buildings have been almost constructed. For this construction work, around 800 skilled and unskilled construction workers are being engaged by various construction companies. Out of these 47 buildings, atleast 40 buildings have 16 flats each and each flat has two bedrooms, drawing room, kitchen and bathroom. In these 40 buildings the total number of flats is around 640 flats. In the remaining 7 buildings the number of flats do vary, but at least may be around 60 to 70 flats and again each flat has two bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. Overall these are around 700 flats being constructed by the army inside the Old Air Field, which is the same land, which army otherwise wants for the construction of Sainik colony.
The Chief Minister and other concerned officials should explain whether these buildings are part of the same Sainik colony for which army is seeking land. If it is not part of the proposed Sainik colony, the government and the army should clarify the status of this upcoming colony inside the Old Air Field. But if it is true that the said 47 buildings nearing completion of construction at the Old Air Field are part of the Sainik colony, then it needs to be probed how come without land being allotted for the same, the colony is being constructed. Who has authorized this work? It should also be probed whether army authorities have misled the Jammu and Kashmir government or whether the representatives of Jammu and Kashmir government are themselves lying.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir government official figures, the Indian army is in legal and illegal possession of 10,00,000 Kanals (125000 acres) land, all of which is behind the iron curtains and there is obviously no information available with the civil administration about what all is happening inside these camps. Over the years, people of Jammu and Kashmir are witnessing construction of several buildings inside the army garrisons, about which no detail is available what are these buildings required for. The Jammu and Kashmir government neither has had the courage nor the intent to ever seek accountability from the Indian army about all the land, which is under their possession. Nevertheless, what is clear from this is that the lack of transparency in all the things undertaken by Indian army in Jammu and Kashmir is blatantly lawless.”