HC Freezes PHE Bank Accounts

Employees’ Salaries Won’t Be Affected: CE

Srinagar – Taking a serious view of the continued defiance of its orders to square up the outstanding compensation of a petitioner whose land had been acquired for Rangil water supply scheme, Jammu and Kashmir High Court has sealed the bank accounts of Public Health Engineering Department Kashmir.

In view of the direction, reports said, the department may not be able to disburse salaries of its employees or due payments to its contractors. However, confirming the direction, chief engineer, Ahmad Muzaffar Lankar, said it would not effect the disbursements on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha.

Quoting sources, a KNS report said the direction had come after several of its orders to the department to clear the outstanding compensation of the petitioners were not obeyed. The department had purchased land for Rangil water supply scheme from Ghulam Nabi Mir. However, after taking possession of the land, full payment was not released in Mir’s favor.

Mir approached the High Court which issued directions to the department to release the outstanding payments. But, in spite of repeated directions, the department failed to make the payment to the petitioner. Meanwhile, Mir died and his sons pursued the case. 

During a recent hearing of the case, the High Court again directed the PHE authorities to release the dues to the legal heirs of the seller. But, the department it released Rs five lakh only against the total dues of Rs 50 lakh after which the legal heirs again approached the court.

Taking the strong exception to non-compliance of its orders, the High Court directed that the bank accounts of the department be sealed. A copy of the direction to freeze the account was sent to the Jammu and Kashmir Bank.

When contacted, the chief engineer told KNS that steps were being taken to make full payment of the compensation to the legal heirs. “To pay the total pending payment in favor of legal heirs of the land seller is the duty of our department and we’re in the process to do the needful,” Lankar said, adding the department was exploring the legal options for restoration of the frozen accounts.

Meanwhile, the regular and daily wage employees of the department including various contractors have expressed concern over the possibility of their payments being held back on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha. (KNS)

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