Srinagar: A prominent residential colony in the backyard of civil secretariat is fast turning into a commercial hub as a concrete jungle of commercial complexes is coming up flouting all norms set up by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). Worse, the SMC headquarters is situated in the vicinity of Suthra Shahi colony but the officials designated to monitor the constructions seem to be looking the other way.
The massive construction spree has triggered off after the devastating deluge of September 2014. A group of local residents from Suthra Shahi told Kashmir Reader that the area is fast turning into a commercial zone as some influential persons are violating the rules framed by the government for the construction of buildings.
As per the new guidelines, construction of the third floor is not allowed in commercial buildings in residential areas but the residents said the new structures have been raised upto the seventh floor.
During the 2014 floods majority of the houses were damaged in the area. The authorities permitted the fresh construction strictly according to the set procedures and guidelines.
“The damaged houses were rebuilt and are now being turned into commercial complexes under the nose of the SMC headquarters in Karan Nagar”, said a resident.
“We always resisted the construction of commercial buildings in our area but all in vain. No doubt very soon we will also have to leave our homes and succumb to the pressure of commercialization,” said another resident. “Some people have rented out their houses to non-locals,” he said.
He said most of the buildings have been constructed in violation of the building laws and regulations. “The people have started encroachment and have blocked the road by dumping construction material,” he said.
SMC Commissioner Shafqat Khan said that he would look into the manner in which the new constructions are coming up in Suthra Shahi area.