In pursuance to the moratorium put by the state government on demolition of illegal structures in summer capital of the state and in compliance to the High Court orders, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Wednesday issued orders of de-sealing of 41 structures presently under custody of Joint Commissioner Planning, chief enforcement officers and the concerned police stations.
The order bearing number SMC/Enf/692-741 dated April 7, 2014 has been issued by the Commissioner SMC Dr G N Qasba wherein 41 sealed structures have been de-sealed till March 31, 2015 or till the government formulates a policy whichever is earlier.
Pertinently, on February 25 this year the Legislative Assembly passed a law to put moratorium on demolition of illegal structures which have come up in Srinagar, Jammu and Katra in violation of master plans.
Under the J&K Civic Laws (Special Provision) Act 2014 – a High Power Committee will prepare a roadmap for regularizing the unauthorized structures, both residential and commercial, against a penalty.
In defense of this controversial law, the Government had said the “issues involved were many and highly complex and the magnitude of the problem was too huge to be solved through sealing/demolition/forcible action alone though it admitted that a large number of residential/commercial buildings had come up illegally in violation of master plans.
Last year in October under High Court directions, the SMC had sealed 19 out of 45 identified ‘illegal’ structures in Srinagar city. She said the illegal structures at Jawahar Nagar had become a nuisance for the general public and the same were sealed with the help of police in presence of the executive magistrate.
Pertinently, on September 30, 2013 a division bench of J&K High Court comprising Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey asked SMC to seal as many as 45 illegal structures within the City that have come up, over the years, in violation of the Srinagar Master Plan.
The Court had directed the Corporation to swing into action and take appropriate steps for sealing buildings belonging to any violators as per the show-cause notices and the demolition orders passed (by the Corporation) on March 16, 2009 or thereafter.
Pertinently, an official panel on Master Plan violations constituted by the state government in 2010 has identified around 2500 illegal structures in and around the Srinagar city falling in SMC and SDA local areas. (KNS)