Flouting Court Ruling,Custodian Dept Hands Over 30 Kanals to Sports Council

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Srinagar: Custodian Department, Kashmir has in violation of High Court directions, “handed over” 30 kanals of land in Srinagar to the Sports Council for building a stadium, incurring crores of losses to the department’s revenue generation.

Sources in the department said that more than 30 kanals of Custodian land at Ishber Nishat in Srinagar have been “handed over” to the Sports Council in violations of the High Court directions passed in 2014.

KNS quoting official sources reported the handover will cost 70 crores of loss to the department.

As per High Court ruling, Custodian land had to be leased out or rented to any person/s by the department through public auctioning.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court in December 2014 had directed Custodian General of the State not to make any allotment of Evacuee Property except through public auction in print and electronic media to ensure fairness, objectivity and transparency to allotment of Evacuee Property.

Justice Hasnain Masoodi had directed the Government to form a high level committee to examine allotments of Evacuee Property made during last five years and observed that it is disturbing that the EP is being allotted in a clandestine manner and thereby interest of evacuees compromised.

The Evacuee Property under the occupation of Custodian department belongs to Estate holders who migrated from the State in 1947.

“The Custodian Department and every officer of the Department are required to take utmost care of the property in their custody. It is disturbing, to say the least, that the Evacuee Property is being allotted in a clandestine manner and thereby interest of evacuees compromised,” the HC had observed.

The department is in occupation of precious land and property in Jammu and Kashmir that generates huge revenue for the government which is utilized in assets creation for the government.

Officials said that during 2002-2008, the then government framed policy that laid a mechanism for asset creation and revenue generation for the government.

An official said that the former minister, Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen, had proposed to the department to construct a hotel at the said land that would increase revenue and give fillip to tourism.

Sources said that if the land in Nishat is given “free” to the council, it will be a “big loss” to the department.

“The department has no objection to construction of the stadium, but it should be leased out through auction as per rules of the department and High Court directions,” the official sources said.

On May 19, the government announced that the land was allotted to Sports Council by the revenue department to develop it as a stadium.

Custodian General, J&K, Aijaz Ahmad Bhat, when contacted, said that the land is under the process of being allotted to the Sports Council for developing as a stadium which will be later given to it on rent.

“The Sports Council, later, will charge membership fee which will generate revenue for the Custodian Department. But we will not transfer it to the Sports Council and it will be the property of Custodian Department not of Sports Council,” Bhat said. (KNS)

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