Pampore highway expansion Traders, locals cry foul

Pampore highway expansion Traders, locals cry foul

Bilal Habib

Pampore: Traders and residents of Pampore on Saturday accused the government of “acting partially” in acquiring land for widening of the highway.

According to the traders and representatives of Shah-I-Hamdan Memorial Trust in this south Kashmir town, the authorities are trying to acquire prized saffron land from the families not having “any kind of influence”.  While, they said, the land owned by “influential families” living towards the right side of the highway has been left unaltered.

“For widening, land should be acquired from both sides of the highway. But the authorities are only asking people on one side (of the highway) to provide the land. The influential families living on the other side are allowed to keep their land,” General Secretary of the trust, Mukhtar Ahmad Tantry, told Kashmir Reader.

He said the matters were worse in Kadlebal area.

“The road would be widened to 100 feet, which should mean 50 feet expansion on each side. But the administration is widening it by about 70 feet from our side alone,” Tantry said.

The President of Pampore Traders Federation, Bashir Ahmad Mir, said they too are against the decision.

“If R&B department continues with its partial approach, more than 60 shops housed in a to-be-demolished three-storey complex will need to be relocated,” Mir said, adding that they have taken up the matter with Tehsildar Pampore, Shahbaz Ahmad Boda, and revenue officials of the department.

“We have been assured that justice will be done,” he said.

Javaid Bukhari, Executive Engineer R&B department Pampore, accepted that more land was being acquired on the left side of the highway, but he denied involvement of favouritism in making the choice.

“We are trying to reduce the number of curves on the highway. They (curves) make roads accident-prone,” Bukhari told Kashmir Reader.