Srinagar/Pahalgam: Two illegal structures of a retired government officer and a leader of Peoples Conference (PC) were demolished on Tuesday by the Pahalgam Development Authority.
The demolitions were carried out on a day when Kashmir Reader reported how dozens of illegal structures have been built in Mawura and Yanner areas despite the high court ban on constructions.
According to a senior official, both the structures were demolished because they were being raised up in violation of the court orders.
The retired official, Ghulam Rasool Malik, had been constructing foundation of a building under the cover of tall conifer trees mostly during evening hours at Batkoot block, a forested and mountainous area.
In Batkoot, many huts have been constructed illegally on forestland. The forest department has also served notices to the owners, asking them to vacate the land but received no response yet.
On a hill at Lamhadu, a former officer in Municipal Committee Pahalgam, Abdul Rehman, has constructed a huge cottage after the ban. A few meters ahead, a few hotels, including the Valley Resort and Castle Rock were constructed when the Public Interest Litigation, hearing which the court had banned constructions, was being filed in the court.
The hotels are running illegally because they are not registered with tourism department.
At Lidru, a paved road leads to a two-storey hotel, owned by a relative of retired chief conservator of forest Manzoor Ahmad Tak, who had converted an old hut into the hotel in violation of court ban. Ahead of it, another hotel, Crimzon, owned by a former bureaucrat, which was also served notice by forest department, has encroached upon forestland.
Meanwhile, Chaudhary Anwar Jan, who contested 2014 Assembly elections unsuccessfully on PC ticket, had constructed a large one-storey commercial structure in Awoora on state land. It was learnt the police had lodged FIR (60/2015) in the case after revenue officials, who visited the spot, were attacked with stones by locals.
“In spite of resentment from locals, we demolished the commercial structure today. The entire structure was being constructed on state land,” said Anantnag deputy commissioner Baseer Khan.
Khan said the land grabber had prompted the locals to attack revenue officials, including the sub-divisional magistrate, with stones.
“We removed the plinth first but the construction was again resumed later. The locals were supporting the land grabber. Had the construction been allowed, about 40 kanals of state land would have been encroached upon,” he told Kashmir Reader.