Govt set to extend freeze on action against unauthorized constructions

Spread the love

In a glaring instance of non-serious  approach towards unauthorized constructions in twin capital cities of the State and holy town of Katra, the PDP-BJP Coalition Government is going to extend the moratorium on action against such structures by extending the applicability of Jammu and Kashmir Civic Laws (Special Provisions) Act through Ordinance route.
The ruling Coalition Government had extended the life of J&K Civic Laws (Special Provisions) Act beyond March 31, 2015 to December 31, 2015 by categorically stating on the floor of the State Legislature that nine months would be required to formulate policy to address the issue of illegal constructions in the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar and holy town of Katra.
However, the present regime followed the footsteps of the previous National Conference-Congress dispensation and continued to soft-paddle on the issue, which was otherwise taken very seriously by the State High Court while issuing directions for sealing and demolition of illegal structures Vide its order dated December 31, 2013, official.
“Now, the outcome of the soft-paddling on formulation of policy is that the Housing and Urban Development Department has been left with no other option but to extend the moratorium on action against illegal constructions by stretching the applicability of the J&K Civic Laws (Special Provisions) Act”, sources said, adding “since the period of Act is going to expire on December 31, 2015 and the State Legislature would meet from January 18, 2016, the Housing and Urban Development Department has decided to adopt the Ordinance route”.
Sources disclosed that Housing and Urban Development Department has got the draft Ordinance vetted from the Law Department and the same would be sent to the Governor for promulgation within next some days. “In this way, the present dispensation has clearly established that tackling the menace of illegal constructions is no priority for it”, sources said, adding “had there been any seriousness on the part of the Housing and Urban Development Department, required steps could have been initiated to frame the policy during the past nine months”.
The non-serious approach of the Housing and Urban Development Department is notwithstanding the fact that State High Court is repeatedly expressing serious concern over illegal constructions taking place right under the nose of the concerned authorities.
Few days back, the High Court while reprimanding the Jammu Municipal Corporation had observed that concerned authorities allow the illegal constructions/ violations take place till the structures are completely raised. The High Court had also directed for identification of the officers and officials facilitating such constructions for initiating disciplinary action against them.
It may be recalled that despite huge violations of Building Laws and Bye-Laws, there was no seriousness on the part of the Government to check this trend and this prompted the State High Court to look into the enormity of such violations.
Accordingly, the High Court Vide its order dated December 31, 2013 in a Public Interest Litigation directed sealing of illegal structures in the holy town of Katra. Similar directions were also issued in respect of such constructions in twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar.
However, the judgment was not taken in right perspective by the then National Conference-Congress Coalition Government in view of the political implications of the High Court orders. In the meanwhile, a House Committee constituted to look into the issue of conversion of residential areas for commercial purposes, in its meeting held on January 17, 2014, suggested the Government to come out with a legal framework to keep in abeyance sealing and demolition of the illegal structures that had taken place till December 2013 until a comprehensive Master Plan is put in place to suggest remedies for past violations and suggest measures for the future.
Acting on the recommendation of the House Committee, the then Government in the Budget Session of 2014 brought a legislation titled Jammu and Kashmir Civic Laws (Special Provisions) Act, which was subsequently passed by the Legislature. Through this Act, moratorium was imposed on the action against illegal structures for one year-till March 31, 2015. It was specially mentioned in the Act of 2014 that before March 31, 2015, the Government will come up with a policy to deal with or regulate unauthorized constructions in Jammu, Srinagar and Katra.
Thereafter, no exercise was conducted as if only imposing freeze on the action recommended by the High Court was the only objective behind enactment of legislation. The present dispensation on April 6, 2015 introduced a bill in the Legislature seeking to amend the J&K Civic Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2014 in order to extend the moratorium on action against unauthorized constructions till December 31, 2015.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, who also holds the portfolio of Housing and Urban Development Department, had categorically stated in the Legislative Assembly that a period of nine months would be required to complete the ongoing tasks relating to the revision of the Master Plan, which was linked with the problem of illegal constructions. But he has failed to keep his words.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Editorjknews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Facebook