Pulwama: The Industrial Growth Centre (IGC) at Lassipora, in Pulwama district, has its huge chunks of land encroached upon by different squatters, with authorities acting as just mute spectators.
According to the sources in State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) at present more than 1500 Kanals of land, which actually belong to the IGC Lassipora, has been encroached upon.
“The centre presently has a possession of over 4600 kanals of land. However, the actual possession should have been somewhere around 6200 hundred Kanals,” a highly placed source in SIDCO told Kashmir Reader, “The squatted land is 1576 Kanals to be precise.”
The estate was established in 1984, starting with acquisition of land from around six different villages. The acquired land consisted of proprietary as well as grazing land.
As per sources some of the proprietary land was not compensated by the concerned authorities and remains uncompensated even today.
“However, the centre should rightfully be holding the uncompensated land, for it has been notified in its name. Besides, the land that has been compensated and is still illegally held by squatters should have been at least vacated to give some breathing space to the centre,” the sources in SIDCO said.
Lassipora estate is one of the most thriving industrial estates across Kashmir, but the unit holders complain of illegal encroachments by the land mafia, as well as some locals.
“And the irony is that it’s a continuous process. Do you see that huge, walled chunk of land right outside my unit? It has been recently encroached upon,” a unit holder told Kashmir Reader, requesting anonymity.
The unit holder said that the squatter held a few Marlas of land at the place some years ago and now the land he is squatting upon can accommodate at least three units.
“They tell us that some land remains uncompensated and has been encroached upon some years ago. But what about the land that is being encroached upon right before our eyes,” asks another unit holder.
Complaining about a nearby Gujjar Basti, the unit holder says that the neighborhood which squats illegally, has grown exponentially since the last half a decade or so.
The sources at the SIDCO lament that they have time and again brought the issue in the notice of the district administration.
“There has been no response from the administration. They have not even tried to talk to the squatters, leave alone making any effort to vacate them,” a senior official at the SIDCO told Kashmir Reader.
The district administration on the other hand expresses complete ignorance.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dar, told Kashmir Reader that nobody has brought the issue into his notice.
“You are the first one to talk to me about it. The concerned officials should have brought this into my notice,” Dar said.