PDA demolishes 10 illegal structures

SHABIR AHMAD

Pahalgam: Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA), the main nodal agency meant for the maintenance and development of this world famous tourist resort has launched a major drive against illegal structures in the area. At least ten illegal structures which had come up in different areas falling within the jurisdiction of PDA, were raised to ground during last ten days.
Chief executive officer (CEO), PDA, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat, said that almost all the structures which had been constructed in different areas of Pahalgam in election times were completely
demolished. “Since we were busy with the elections and many people taking undue advantage of our busy schedule had erected huts and guest houses. But after the elections concluded we identified all the illegal structures and launched a massive demolition drive,” CEO told Kashmir Reader. He said that the structures were demolished in main Pahalgam, Chan Haji, Movura, Yanner areas. “On Saturday we are going to demolish few more illegal huts constructed by some rich people in
Rangward area. We have already served notices to the violators,” CEO said.
Meanwhile locals allege that the authorities apply the law only on the poor inhabitants of Pahalgam and allow the rich and influential people to carry out the major repairs of their hotels. “You can see huge hotels and huts coming in Gujran Batkote and Shrichan areas. We many a time registered complaints with PDA officials but they never bothered to touch the illegal structures only because they belong to rich and politically well connected people. The authorities implement the court order on the poor residents only,” the residents of Batakote told Kashmir Reader. They said that the son-in-law of a former minister is carrying out the repairs of his illegal hotel at Yanner and nobody dares to touch him. However, CEO denied the allegations and said that not a single structure has been allowed to come up in the area since he took over the charge.
“Yes some hoteliers are carrying out the repairs of their hotels but they have got permission from the honorable high court. If somebody gets permission from the court for some minor repairs i cannot stop
him,” CEO said adding “If anyone proves that any fresh illegal structure has been allowed to come up or spared after being constructed i will tender resignation.”
Meanwhile, intensifying the removal of encroachments and demolishing of illegal structures constructed on the banks of river Jehlum and its tributaries besides around the flood channel, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Shah along with team of officers supervised the demolition drive on the banks of Doodh Ganga here.