A House Committee mandated to see the arbitrary conversion of water bodies into land mass has directed that the multi story showroom Ansari Toyota should be locked immediately.
The huge building located in the lush green paddy fields on the bypass, not far away from Shalteng, is the new address for a new business of the influential Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, the Shia cleric and business tycoon who has had his innings in Congress, NC and is now PDP lawmaker from the Pattan constituency.
Ansaris for years were the sole address for Maruti in Kashmir. They still operate Ansari Motors in the heart of the city at Sonawar but there is not much business left as it was cannibalized by two other giants, the JamKash Vehicleads and the Peaks Automobiles who have equally distributed Kashmir within themselves.
After the car-wars hit the business house, Ansaris jumped into the media but could not do much despite initially investing handsomely. Right now, trade insiders said, the Ansari House is solely relying on their call center which handles the call traffic of Airtel customers.
For all these years, Ansari were working overtime to setup a new business. While it took some time to convince the Toyota that it will take the brand on a long drive in Kashmir, it also took a lot of time to get the permissions from the civic bodies for setting up an automobile workshop in the lush green fields. Once the complex was ready for the launch, the House Committee appeared on the scene, directing the complex be sealed. While it was permitted to have a workshop, the family opened a sales outlet instead. This is where the house committee has struck.
Nowadays, the issue is the nectar of the political grapevine. Insiders suggest that Ansari stands trapped in the web that he initiated to weave, albeit for a different reason. It all started last year when Ansari made a strong speech in the state legislature suggesting that land sharks are fast converting water bodies into land mass thus hurting the fragile ecology of the place.
It was this speech that led to the constitution of a house committee with three members each from Congress, NC and PDP. It is being led by NC lawmaker Mir Saifullah. This also is very interesting that the house committee, for the first time in history, has started directing action instead of reporting to the assembly on the issue it is mandated to cover, probe or investigate.