HC seeks report from DCs, SMC on illegal conversion of agri land

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed all Deputy Commissioners as well as Srinagar Municipal Corporation to file status report by March 11 about action taken against the unauthorized conversion of agricultural land in the state.
The directions by a division bench of Justices Hasnain Massodi and Ali Mohammad Magrey followed perusal of status reports filed by all but District Commissioners of Poonch, Samba, Rajouri, Srinagar and Kupwara.
The Deputy Commissioners have indicated the details of unauthorized conversion of agriculture land in their respective districts.
However, the reports do not indicate the action taken in terms of law for removal or demolition of constructions raised in violation of law, the court observed while hearing a Public Interest Litigation.
“All the Deputy Commissioners including those who have yet to file their compliance report as also Srinagar Municipal Corporation will submit fresh status report by or before next date of hearing indicating the action taken against the unauthorized conversion with the details thereof,” the bench said.
The bench also directed its registry to provide all orders passed from time to time by it to advocate Jehangir Iqbal who was requested by the court to assist it in the case. The court posted the case for further consideration on March 11.
The High Court has already directed government to ensure that no conversion of agriculture land was permitted for commercial, residential or industrial purposes.
The court had also directed all Deputy Commissioners in the Valley to ensure strict implementation of Agrarian Reforms Act to protect the agricultural land.
The court was hearing the PIL titled Human Watch International (NGO) Vs State Of J&K And Others.
The main grievance projected in the PIL is that the agricultural land transferred to and vested in tillers under the provisions of the Agrarian Reforms Act is being converted into residential housing colonies.
Meanwhile, the court also directed Irrigation and Flood Control Department to ensure that the flood spill channel Rawalpora-Pirbagh, is repaired and widened so that it drains out flood water from the area.
Deputy Advocate General, N H Shah represented the state in the case.