Illegal Constructions in Twin Capitals Get Legal Cover

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Srinagar—The state government has come up a policy to regulate all illegal and unauthorized construction of buildings and structures in summer and winter capitals of the state as well as Katra.

According to an official notification, the policy aims to bring the illegal and unauthorized constructions and land use or building use conversions into planning framework to the “extent possible” and to facilitate the implementation of the Master Plans under revision.

However, no unauthorized construction having come up after 31 December 2016 shall be regularized as per the policy, a “one-time settlement” for local areas of Srinagar, Jammu and Katra in Reasi district.

At the same time, the policy shall not be applicable in nine situations including those buildings coming in the proposals of widening of roads in the master plan or in the comprehensive mobility plan; over flood absorption basins or vulnerable slopes; over lands belonging to state or central government, Undertakings, Panchayat, Waqf Board, local commons etc; precincts or sites coming under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958; in case the use is obnoxious or hazardous as per the Master Plan, the J&K Municipal Act, 2000, J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, J&K Development Act, 1970, or any other Act in vogue etc; in the graveyards or burial grounds and crematoria; areas or sites falling within the ambit of Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regularization and Management) Act 2010; group housing projects and in restricted development zones as specified in the Master Plans like Green areas, open spaces etc.

A survey conducted by the teams constituted by government in 2014 reported 5500 violations in Srinagar, 4131 in Jammu and 58 in Katra respectively.

“Notwithstanding other provisions, this policy shall provide one time settlement to unauthorized constructions for the Local Area of Srinagar, Jammu and Katra. No unauthorized construction having come up after 31st December, 2016 shall be regularized,’ reads the policy document.

“The existing buildings shall be regularized on ‘as is where is basis’ subject to the condition that these do not fall within exclusionary zones and also do not violate the conditions as mentioned in this policy.”

However, new construction in a vacant plot or any addition to the existing building shall be approved as per the building byelaws and Master Plan regularization in vogue.

The regularization charges shall be used only for the development of the local areas by way of improved water supply, sewerage, drainage, widening of roads, development of public amenities and other facilities.

“In case of public buildings, public safety, security and public conveniences and parking shall not be compromised for regularizing such buildings and National Building Code shall be strictly adhered to. The owner shall have to make such structural changes in the building, if required, before approval and also submit mandatory clearances from other departments, if required, before approval,” it reads. In case he fails to fulfil any of the conditions, the approval shall not be granted and the owner of the building shall be proceeded against as per provisions of the law, the policy reveals.

“In case of un-authorized buildings/plots for which the owner does not submit the application to the competent authority within the prescribed period, the appropriate action/proceedings under Law shall be initiated after the expiry of the prescribed period, which may include but not limited to, sealing demolition, levying penalties etc., as warranted under law.”

As per the notification, the policy shall be applicable for a period of one year from 01 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 for the local areas of Srinagar, Jammu and Katra excluding the area coming under J&K Lakes and Waterways Development Authority.

Background

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 2013 directed the state government to come up with a policy in view of a very large number of violations of master plan and building byelaws violations in the major cities of Srinagar, Jammu and Katra.

Subsequently, the government formed a high-level committee and on its recommendations, the Jammu and Kashmir Civic Laws (Special Provisions) Act,2014 was enacted to protect for one year the unauthorized constructions ordered to be demolished by the state high court in September 30, 2013. The moratorium was initially granted for one year but PDP-BJP alliance too followed the foot-steps of NC-Congress combine and extended the freeze on action against unauthorized constructions till December 31, 2015. Recently, the government extended it to March next year.

Pertinently, As per the legislation, the provisions of the Act were not protect under construction or the buildings and structures which had been not completed on date of commencement of the Act (March 5, 2014).

 

 

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