Srinagar: The district administration on Wednesday acted tough against various house and shop owners at Qamarwari as around 22 shops and 6 residential houses were razed to ground.
The operation was carried out by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) along with district administration and police, witnesses said.
The demolition drive was carried out to pave way for the road widening project which was pending since the four lane project was started in year 2002.
Reports said that the demolition squad along with the officials of the Civic body used heavy machines to raze the structures to ground. The men were so ruthless that no time was given to shop owners to clear their belongings.
“We were not provided any time to clear our belongings or the merchandise,” said Mehrajuddin, who along with his family ran a business outlet in the main market.
“How did the government expect that we will shift our belongings within five days. We got notice from the authorities just five days back asking us to vacate the premises,” he added.
Reacting to the drive the owners of the shops and residential houses were aghast against the ‘sudden move’ by the authorities.
In the demolished house of Late Abdul Sattar Dar, layers of rice lay scattered on the floor, the bedding was under the heaps of rubble and the steel rods had smashed the old color television which the family used to watch during evening hours.
“They did not give us five minutes to shift our belongings from here,” Ali Muhmmad Dar, son of Abdul Sattar Dar said.
Dar alleged that the police officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent in the area thrashed his four daughters when they asked him for more time to shift their belongings to other place.
“2014 floods destroyed our residential house completely and we got no compensation from the government. Then we shifted here on the top floors of our shops. Now they have evacuated us from here and we have no place to go,” Dar added.
Dar alleged that his father late Abdul Sattar Dar died due to brain hemorrhage when first notice of demolition was served to them by the government.
The authorities during a high level committee on May 2, 2015 had decided to compensate Dar a total amount of 34.90 lakhs and three plots of 04 Malras each at Shah Naymatullah Colony at Parimpora, Srinagar against his four shops.
“Till now we have only received 04 lakh Rs from the government and we haven’t even seen the land promised to us in Parimpora,” Dar said.
The tenants whose shops were demolished during the drive were found to be packing their business amidst the bulldozer razing the neighboring shops. Muhmmad Maqbool, an octogenarian who was running his hosiery business along with his son for the last thirty years said he could not arrange an alternate storage for his business.
“What you look at is the dust now. Three hours ago it was a three storey shop which was blooming with trade activity,” Maqbool said.
“They did not give us enough time to shift. For these five days, I kept looking for the alternate storage but could not get it”.
Maqbool’s whole family was packing the bags and cartons amidst the dust and loading on a three wheeler load carrier.
“We are taking it to our house. May be we can find some good stuff inside as the bulldozer has ruined everything here,” Mehrajuddin son of Maqbool said.
Despite repeated attempts the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar could not be contacted for his version.