SMC Pulls Down 23 Structures In A Week

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Drive Against Un-influential Poor: Locals

Srinagar – Continuing with its special demolition drive, the Enforcement Wing of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation has demolished 23 “illegal and unauthorized” residential as well as commercial structures across the capital city in the past week.

The Corporation today brought down a building coming up “illegally” at Tengpora Byepass on the city outskirts. “The construction was in its initial stages and the shuttering was being prepared for it,” media officer, Masrat Yousuf, said.

While demolishing another building at Alochibagh, she said, the demolition squad faced resistance resulting in injuries to some officials while demolishing its ground floor and plinth.

“Some miscreants had tried to grab and encroach upon government land by resorting to earth filling in a water body at Achan Sayedpora, which was removed by the squad using trucks and earthmovers,” she added.

“We are not silent on the illegal constructions in the city. Our enforcement squad maintains a strict vigil in the wards to check illegal constructions. Wherever they find any violation, they take prompt action,” Ms Yousuf told Kashmir Observer.

She said the SMC commissioner, Dr G N Qasba, had made it clear the concerned ward officer would be squarely responsible for any illegal construction in his ward. In a chronic case of violation of building laws, demolition of a building in Ikhwan Chowk has been ordered.

The civic body has asked the people not to raise any construction without obtaining permission from it. “The demolition of illegal structures would continue without any let or hindrance and even without any notice or warning to the defaulter,” the media officer said.

However, locals have trashed the SMC drive, alleging that its officials accommodated people having political influence and took action only against un-influential poor.

“Politics is played by the SMC in the name of special drive. The structures belonging to the poor alone are demolished. There are many illegal structures owned by influential people in our locality which SMC never demolished,” a resident of Khayyam Chowk, Nazir Ahmad Wani, told Kashmir Observer.

Asked why some illegal constructions were allowed to come up, chief enforcement officer, Aijaz Hakim, said, “Yes, I agree some buildings are not demolished, the reason being the court orders which make us avoid demolition. Those who doubt our operations or have any complaints can visit our office and get information on any issue.”

“The demolitions will continue. We have started demolition of illegal structures on the Jhelum banks. Our squad is on its toes to make the city clean,” he told Kashmir Observer, refuting the reports that SMC officials were being bribed to allow illegal constructions. “We have laid down strict rules to punish corrupt officials,” he said.

Talking to Kashmir Observer, Dr Qasba said, the drive wasn’t something new to them. “Demolition of illegal structures is one of the primary tools in adhering to the city’s master plan. As and when we detect any illegal construction, our enforcement squad takes strict action against the violators,” he said.

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