Governor Orders Probe Into Construction of 9-Storey Hotel On Rajbagh Jhelum Bank

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Environmental groups up in arms against ex- mantri’s relative after PDP Govt’s fall

SRINAGAR — The governor administration has ordered a probe into the construction of a massive commercial complex on the banks of river Jhelum in the capital following a campaign launched by environmental activists.

“Taking cognisance of a deluge of complaints from different environmental activists and groups, Governor’s administration has ordered an in-depth enquiry into the No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from different government departments and consequently permission to construction of a nine-storey hotel building by one Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh on the bank of river Jhelum near Abdullah Bridge Rajbagh,” an order issued by the General Administration Department reads.

The committee will be headed by deputy commissioner Srinagar with special secretary Housing and urban Development, vice chairman of the Srinagar Development Authority and director Floriculture as members.

It shall also include members from the irrigation and flood control, public health engineering and public works departments, says the order.

The committee has been asked to establish the ownership of the land, as the state land cannot be sold as per the provisions of the state Land Law, and if the land in question could be used for commercial purposes, according to the order.

“The terms of reference of the committee include establishing the ownership of land and to scrutinise if State land/kahcharai land, which is not allowed to be sold as per the provisions of J&K Land Law, has been sold or purchased. It will find out whether the area of 7 kanals 7 marlas, in the midst of 27 kanals of kahcharai land in jurisdiction of Srinagar Municipal Corporation was in the category of residential or commercial zone in the existing Master Plan”, the order reads.

The committee, which has been given four weeks time to submit its report, will also inquire if the construction was going on as per the building permission obtained and the deviations undertaken, if any.

Officials privy to the development revealed that the committee would investigate the circumstances under which different government departments, particularly SDA and Irrigation and Flood Control, have issued NOCs to the hotel owner that enabled SMC’s BOCA to issue building permission to the applicant. 

According to these sources, a number of environmental activists and groups swung into action particularly after the fall of PDP-led State government as one of the Cabinet Ministers was known to be shielding and promoting the entrepreneur, reportedly his close relative.

In the last three years, there was serious allegation from environmental groups that one of the SMC Commissioners had received bribe of Rs 50 lakh. According to sources, one of the former SMC Commissioners, who is now heading a top constitutional body, had revealed to then Chief Minister how one of the promoters of the hotel had shown him a diary with entries of senior government officers and politicians and claimed that the amounts shown against them had been paid to the individuals for facilitating construction of the hotel.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered a probe into the construction of a massive commercial complex on the banks of river Jhelum in the summer capital of the state following a vigourous campaign launched by environmental activists.

“Sanction is hereby accorded to the constitution of a committee to conduct an in-depth enquiry into the grant of building permission for construction of commercial complex by one Sheikh Gulzar Ahmad at Rajbagh,” an order issued by the General Administration Department last week reads.

The committee will be headed by deputy commissioner Srinagar with special secretary Housing and urban Development, vice chairman of the Srinagar Development Authority and director Floriculture as members.

It shall also include members from the irrigation and flood control, public health engineering and public works departments, says the order.

The committee has been asked to establish the ownership of the land, as the state land cannot be sold as per the provisions of the state Land Law, and if the land in question could be used for commercial purposes, according to the order.

The committee, which has been given four weeks time to submit its report, will also inquire if the construction was going on as per the building permission obtained and the deviations undertaken, if any.

The government ordered the inquiry into the construction of the multi-storey commercial complex following opposition from environmental activists who alleged that the construction of the building could lead to disaster as it was situated close to the banks of Jhelum. (PTI)

 

 

 

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