‘LAWDA officials allow illegal constructions in Dal’

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority to reply by November 13 to an application alleging that officials of the authority were taking bribes to allow illegal constructions in the Dal Lake.
The application, submitted by anonymous “well-wishers of the Dal lake, said the demolition squad of the LAWDA situated at Dockyard near Ishber, Nishat, which is responsible for keeping a tab on illegal constructions, has been permitting illegal constructions in the prohibited as well as non-prohibited areas in the lake.
“This is done by demanding Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 in non-prohibited areas and Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh in prohibited areas,” the applicants have said.
Even some residential houses have been converted into commercial establishments without getting consent from the competent authority, they said.
“The involvement of demolition officers is evident from the assets amassed by them, which is disproportionate to their known sources of income,” the applicants said. According to the applicants, such officials include a demolition officer and a deputy superintendent who was transferred prematurely from LAWDA. Without revealing the names of the officers, they have demanded probe into the entire affair.
The applicants have named buildings that according to them have been raised in violation of law.
“Some of the illegal constructions are 50 rooms by Hotel Heaven Resort at its backside, Jamaal Resorts, Sara Cottage, Nishat View Hotel, Eagle Resorts, Hotel Grand Nishat, Princes Beauty Parlour, Paradise Hotel, Nora Palace, Asad Resorts, J&K Water Resources Authority Office, Walison Resorts, La-rouge Café, all situated at Brane and Nishat,” they said, requesting the Chief Justice to look into the matter personally and take measures for the conservation of the shrinking lake.
The application was read out in the open court by a division bench of Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar.
The bench subsequently directed senior Additional Advocate General SA Naik, representing the state, and Vice-Chairman LAWDA Latief-u-Zaman Deva, who was present in the court, to file response to the application by November 13.