Illegal construction rampant post floods

  • Ishtiyaq Sibtian Joo, Hindustan Times, Srinagar:
  • Updated: Jan 05, 2015 23:18 IST

The leniency employed by the J&K government to help 2014 flood victims resurrect their lives, is being misused by local shopkeepers and businessmen.

"Many people have converted their small temporary shops into permanent ones post the flood, and no one has said anything to them," a shopkeeper selling embroidered pherans on Abi Guzar Bund, complained.

"These shops have been here since decades. We are only allowing them to reconstruct their shops the way they were before," said GN Qasba, city municipal corporation commissioner.

The historic bund on Jhelum River, which suffered major damage during the floods, has shops dealing in Kashmiri carpets, paper mache, pashmina shawls, wood carvings, embroidered clothing and walnut furniture.

"Due to the government turning a blind eye on the construction work post floods, some people have constructed additional floors to their shops," said Junaid Ahmad, the owner of a computer shop on Regal Lane.

Admitting that illegal construction has taken place, Qasba clarified that remedial steps were immediately taken.

According to Yaseen Sheikh, a local school lecturer, a car parking, wood joinery mills, and a car repair workshop is operational on the agricultural land opposite Shalimar Garden, where any kind of construction has deemed illegal by the government.

"They just pay money to the concerned department (Lakes and Waterways Development Authority), who then ignore their mischievous acts," she added.
Syed Shabir Ahmed, the secretary of LAWDA, said, "I had no information about this issue. We have an enforcement wing to make sure no such thing happens in the future."

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