Residents of Mohalla Azad Gunj in North Kashmir’s Baramulla town have alleged that the social forestry’s nursery on the banks of Jhelum in the area has been encroached by some unknown sumo drivers who have converted it into a sumo stand.
Locals are alleging that the sumo drivers have also cut the fencing of the nursery on which government has recently done plantation.
“The plantation was done by government for beautification and protection of river banks from pollution and sliding in flood times,” locals said.
They said they have been running from pillar to post from past two years, in the government offices but nothing happened in this regard.
Aijaz Ahmad, a local in the area told Kashmir Life that they are facing immense hardships since 2011, when the piece of land was occupied by some unknown sumo drivers and they had approached many higher authorities but all in vain.
“I along with other residents met the then Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramullah, Baseer Ahmad Khan who assured us that necessary action would be taken against the encroachers. But nothing has changed still after his transfer,” Ahmad said adding that later they contacted then newly appointed DC Baramullah Ghulam Ahmad Khawaja but still the issue hangs on and nothing was done by them.
Many heads of the local private schools located near the sumo stand have also appealed to the district administration in 2011, to relocate the illegal sumo stand as it was creating huge inconvenience to the public and students in particular.
“Our students use the same way to reach home but the presence of sumo stand in the area and the atrocious atmosphere created by the sumo drivers create trouble,” they said.
Moreover, locals have also filed an RTI application in the office of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramullah regarding the issue. The authorities in the reply have said that the land was under possession of flood control and irrigation department.
However, when locals approached the concerned department on January 23, 2013, the department shot a notice to the sumo drivers asking them to vacate the encroached land or stern action would be taken against them.
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramullah, Farooq Ahmad Lone told Kashmir Life that he will look into the matter.