Land grab, exchange, deprived Magam of feasible dumping site

Land grab, exchange, deprived Magam of feasible dumping site
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BUDGAM: Days after Kashmir Reader reported about dumping of solid waste on the banks of a major stream in Magam town, Kashmir Reader has learnt that that actual site meant for the dumping of solid waste in the town was partly grabbed and the rest exchanged.
The Municipal Committee Magam is presently dumping solid waste on the banks of Ferozpur Nallah which is a main source of water to scores of villages.
The municipal officials had cited unavailability of alternative space as the reason behind dumping waste on the banks of stream.
“We have no alternative for the dumping of the waste material, that is why we have been using the said place as the dumping site,” Executive Officer Municipality Committee Magam Farooq Ahmad had said.
However, there has been availability of state land in the town meant for dumping solid waste, but the land has either been grabbed or exchanged for construction of commercial complexes.
“The actual site which was located near to the main road along the Srinagar-Gulmarag highway was being used by the municipal committee for dumping till 2012,” Farooq added.
But today multi storied complexes can be seen at the site.
Farooq added that around 1.8 Kanal plot land was transferred by the then deputy commissioner Budgam to a man in exchange of four times land away from the spot.
But the problem was that the new spot on the stream bank had no road access. The municipal tractors carrying waste material wade through the steam.
Locals say the waste material carried by the tractors spills over into the water and the waste dumped on the banks also gets mixed with water, which is used for washing, bathing and even drinking purpose by more than a dozen villages.
Meanwhile, Ghulam Hassan Reshi, the man with whom the said land was exchanged told Kashmir Reader that he had not approached the officials but that the municipality and the deputy commissioner had offered him the land.
“I have documents and the bond papers with me,” Reshi said.
A local resident Bashir Ahmad Bhat said that the state land at the original site on the roadside was around 10 kanals, but alleged that “most of the land was acquired by people with consent of higher officials.”
“This has been the sole reason that the municipality has no landfill to use as dumping site outside the town,” Bhat said. “If authorities would have been sincere, they would have sold the land to acquire a proper site outside the town.”
“The question is when government knows that the state land has been grabbed by the vested interests, why don’t they come in force and retrieve the encroached land,” he questioned.
Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, an elderly resident also blamed the officials.
“It is the mismanagement of the municipal committee who never bothered to end this trouble once and for all.
Instead they have turned into money minting machines by providing shield to encroachers, and getting their shares in return,” Bhat alleged.
The residents are lamenting that the officials have, in the process, ended up threatening a major water source in the town.
“They have taken no concrete step to get rid of this menace (land grab), however have added more miseries to the common people by throwing waste in the stream,” Sajid Ali, another resident said.
Tehsildar Magam Mohammad Iqbal told Kashmir Reader that they have asked for a list of illegal constructions in the town.
“In coming days we will get the full details and I assure that all the illegal constructions would be dismantled,” he said.