Anti-encroachment drive in Jammu and Kashmir not halted, continues relentlessly

A top government official told this newspaper that the anti-encroachment drive in J&K has not been stopped or halted.

Published: 21st February 2023 11:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st February 2023 11:51 AM   |  A+A-

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: Notwithstanding the protests from people and political parties, the Lt Governor administration in Jammu and Kashmir has not halted the anti-encroachment drive and the drive is going on relentlessly to retrieve the state, grazed and Roshni Act land from the encroachers.

A top government official told this newspaper that the anti-encroachment drive in J&K has not been stopped or halted.

“The anti-encroachment drive is being carried out on directions of the Court. It is going according to the proper and systematic manner. A lot of progress has been achieved in the anti-encroachment drive so far. Now we are consolidating and securing it. After consolidation, the drive will further pick up momentum,” he said.

The official, however, asserted that the drive is going on and the anti-encroachment drive can only be stopped if court orders its halt.  

70 percent of targets have been achieved during the anti-encroachment drive so far, he said.

In October 2020, J&K High Court had declared unconstitutional, illegal and unsustainable the 2001 Roshni Act, which gave ownership rights to the unauthorised occupants of state land against payment of a premium, and ordered a CBI probe to investigate the allotment of the land.

While J&K government expected to realise over Rs 25,000 crores as revenue from regularization of the land under the Roshni Act, a 2014 CAG report noted that only Rs 76 crores were realised from transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013.

J&K Chief Secretary A K Mehta during a review meeting recently had asked officials to go for geo-referencing and digitization of all retrieved land from the encroachers.

The officials were directed to upload details of the land retrieved across J&K on the portal for internal scrutiny.

Asserting that the drive is going on smoothly barring a few minor incidents, the official said, “The drive has got public support. No common person is being harassed during the drive. Only fear was created that common people will be harassed but no common person was harassed or impacted by the drive”.

 “There were only two incidents in Kashmir – one in city centre Lal Chowk and another at Mehjoor Nagar – and these were corrected,” he said.  

A massive stone pelting had taken place in the Jammu area when a showroom was demolished. Authorities later deployed additional forces in the area to restrict public movement while demolishing the showroom. There have also been protests in other parts of the UT also.

The official said the ant-encroachment drive is going on smoothly and people have by and large supported it. “Without public support, this drive against the land grabbers could not have been successful”.

The political parties have opposed the anti-encroachment drive and use of bulldozers to demolish the structures.

After the launch of the anti-encroachment drive last month, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had said only influential people, who misused their position to encroach the state land, would be targeted while the common and poor men won’t be touched.

However, people want the officials to respect the word of Lt Governor on the ground.

In January this year, the government had directed all 20 Deputy Commissioners of J&K to ensure that all encroachments on State land, grazing and Roshni Act land are removed by January 31, 2023. However, the deadline has been extended now.


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