The Bold Voice of J&K

IAS officer feigns ignorance when found favouring private concern

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JDA land left unmarked to benefit land grabbers

JAMMU: In a system where even most urgent files take weeks together to get processed, land allotment case of a private housing corporation in Jammu witnessed extraordinary interest by the recommending authority ie. Office of Deputy Commissioner, Jammu which recommended the request for allotting 312 Kanals and 5 marlas at village Bain Bajal, Jammu within days.
Reliable sources told STATE TIMES that Deputy Commissioner Jammu recommended whopping 312 Kanals and 5 marlas of prime land to a private housing corporation within days of initiation of the request. However, the recommendations had to be withdrawn when the ‘scam’ got leaked after media intervention. Fearing exposure and imminent action, the Deputy Commissioner made a volta-face, stating that he was under an impression of the housing corporation being a government entity. The hilarious argument for expediting the case in jet-speed exposed the casualness of an officer from an elite service, who took such a big decision involving huge government asset worth crorers of rupees without bothering to verify the antecedents of the applicant, The insiders, however, insist that those processing and recommending the case were in know of the transaction and the beneficiary, who had allegedly taken ‘adequate care’ of their interests. Resentment is simmering in the civil society and demand for thorough probe by an independent agency against the acts of land grabbing with active politico-bureaucratic nexus is gaining momentum.
This being one facet of the pro-active state administration, another shady aspect revolves round deliberate inertia to allow huge encroachment of the land belonging to Jammu Development Authority on regular basis.
STATE TIMES has got credible reports that the Revenue Department is deliberately delaying the demarcation of land belonging to Jammu Development Authority to leave space for grabbers to encroach it at will. The land being unidentified, the chronic encroachers encroach small and big chunks with connivance at various levels and enter into illegal sales. In case of fraud being noticed, they involve the JDA in litigation and indulge in other coercive acts. The role of the officials, both Revenue and JDA, besides unscrupulous elements in the police organization in such deals remains always pronounced.
When STATE TIMES exposed the encroachment of 900 Kanals of state land by one Guru Dutt Sharma and his uncle Hardutt Sharma at village Ghaseetpur, Jammu and the attempt to grab another 400 Kanals of JDA land adjoining to the already encroached land got stalled. This act of land grabbing is a fit case of apathy being shown by the Revenue Department for not undertaking the demarcation despite repeated requests made by JDA, latest ones by Vice Chairperson Sushma Chauhan, who is known for her integrity and honesty.
Failing to get adequate response from the highest level of the Divisional Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner Jammu, the JDA was constrained to take recourse to Public Service Guarantee Act of May 2014 by virtue of which the concerned agency is required to do the needful within 30 days. But this too failed to invoke the attention of all powerful Revenue officials.
Giving the lackadaisical approach of the Revenue Department, the officials of JDA told STATE TIMES that 35,353 Kanals of Nazool land had been transferred to the Authority vide Government Order No Rev (ND) 46 of 1973 dated 28-1-1973 and 40,480 kanals, 04 Marla and 261 sq ft was transferred to JDA under the provisions of J&K State Lands Act,2007.
The transferred land was, however, not demarcated. This turned out to be golden eggs for the Revenue Department and became bone of contention between land grabbers and the JDA, who got locked into litigation on many occasions. Whenever land-grabbers encroached upon the land, they produced ownership documents thus making the JDA helpless, courtesy the Revenue Department which deliberately left the land un-marked. Senior officers the JDA told STATE TIMES that every year requests were being made to Revenue Department for demarcation but each time they put off the issue on one pretext or the other. The Vice Chairman of Jammu Development Authority and her staff said that they had to face a very tough stand and put hard efforts to get land encroachments vacated at Gole Gujral recently as per the directions of High Court. In this case also, they stated that the Revenue authorities tried their best to derail the process number of times because of their non co-operative attitude.
Tehsildar, Jammu Development Authority said that seeing the non co-operation and reluctance of demarcation by Revenue officers the Vice Chairman took up the issue with the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu. He convened a meeting on 17th of May 2014 which was attended by the Vice Chairman JDA along with her four officers besides Deputy Commissioner, Jammu A.K Sahu and ex Deputy Commissioner Samba R.K Verma.
The Divisional Commissioner stressed upon the participants the need for demarcation of land but nothing concrete happened so far.
Sources told STATE TIEMS that earlier requests made by Divisional Commissioner Jammu vide letter No.502/1596/JDA-Encroachment/Gen/14/2795-97 to Deputy Commissioner Jammu and Samba did not yield any results. Even letter no.JDA/DLM/69-71 dated 30-6-2014, letter no.JDA/DLM/HQA/1012-15 dated 20-8-14, letter No.VC/PS/2014/1578-83 dated 1-9-2014 and letter No.JDA/DLM/HQA/1413-14 dated 27-9-2014 written by JDA to Revenue Department could not give any fruitful result. As a result the grabbers are on grabbing spree of JDA land. The state land has turned out as sweet loaves for the Revenue officers.
When contacted for his comments over the delay in demarcation of the state land, Deputy Commissioner A.K Sahu flatly refused that there has ever been any request from JDA in this regard. He said that he has no knowledge about any such request. He also expressed his ignorance about the encroachment of 900 Kanals of the state land at village Ghaseetpur. He banged the phone stating “I am very busy these days on border issues”.

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