Under pressure from Jammu and Kashmir High Court to remove massive encroachments from prime Gole Gujaral land costing around Rs 150 Crores, Jammu Development Authority (JDA) has begun the process for eviction of land grabbers by issuing final notices to encroachers.
The encroachers are given final opportunity to remove the encroachments on their own and take away their belongings, failing which JDA will proceed to remove the encroachments in the light of High Court without any further notice, Vice Chairperson, JDA Sushma Chowhan said in a notice to the encroachers.
The notice has been given to 76 land grabbers under section 7 of Public Premises Eviction of unauthorised Occupant Act, as earlier notice period expires on April 15 this year, she said.
On March 20, Jammu and Kashmir High Court pulled Jammu Development Authority (JDA) for massive land grabbing and directed the Authority to remove encroachments from nearly 170 Kanals of prime Gole Gujaral land costing around Rs 150 Crores in Jammu city as JDA admitted that its prime area is under encroachment.
Division Bench of High Court comprising Justice Virender Singh and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar in order had directed the present Vice-Chairperson of the JDA Sushma Chouhan to immediately initiate steps for evicting the encroachers of 169 kanal and 7 marla of JDA land in village Gole of Jammu city.
Pulling JDA authorities for turning a blind eye towards unauthorised occupation of Rs 150 Crores prime land by land mafia, The Double Bench also directed all the authorities and officers presently working in the JDA and Chief Khilafwarzi Officers, who continue to be posted in JDA for the last 10 years, to disclose their movable and immovable properties within one week.
They have also been restrained from creating any third party interest in their properties.
Taking a serious note of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on land grabbing titled Prof S K Bhalla Versus State of J&K and Others, Court said "JDA has admitted that 169 kanal and 7 marla of land is under unauthorised occupation of locals and nomad Gujjars."
"This doesn't not only make functioning of the authorities of the JDA doubtful but strong eye-brows of suspicions are also raised about the integrity of the authorities, officers, who have manned the important positions, posts in the JDA from time to time," the bench said.
Locals held massive protests over the land grabbing in Gole Gojral area and threatened to go for major agitation in the area if the government failed to remove the encroachments forthwith.
After perusal of the status report filed by the JDA and hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad appearing for the petitioner, the bench observed.
"We are prima facie of the view that the failure of the JDA authorities in retrieving the huge chunk of the land from the possession of the unauthorised occupants is a matter of serious concern."
It said "it is appalling that the authorities of the JDA have failed to take possession of the huge chunk of the land from the unauthorised occupants." "The JDA authorities shall have to explain their conduct and position for not initiating steps for evicting encroachers from the JDA land. The failure of the JDA authorities to perform their duties would require initiation of disciplinary action as warranted in the facts of this case", the DB said.
"Vice-Chairman JDA, who has complete statutory back up and paraphernalia available, shall immediately initiate steps for evicting the encroachers from the JDA land".
Pointing towards the status report, which indicates that four Chief Khilafwarzi Officers have been posted in the JDA for the last 10 years, the DB directed that all the authorities, officers presently working in the JDA and Chief Khilafwarzi Officers whose names have been reflected in the status report, shall, within one week, file their respective affidavits before the Registrar Judicial giving details about their movable and immovable properties which are held by them in their individual names, in the names of their spouses and in the names of their children.
"Likewise, information shall also be given about their bank accounts, shares, debentures and in the affidavit they shall also indicate that till further orders from the court, they will not create any third party interest in their immovable and movable properties", the DB further directed.