‘Political connections’ render KGP unable to reclaim encroached-on college land

‘Political connections’ render KGP unable to reclaim encroached-on college land
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IRSHAD KHAN

SRINAGAR: The Technical Education Department has failed to retrieve over five kanals of prime land belonging to Kashmir Government Polytechnic (KGP) College, Gogji Bagh, encroached upon by a few immigrants who settled in the locality years ago, officials said.
Department insiders told Kashmir Reader that around 10 house owners who had bought residential plots in the vicinity of KGP in the 2000s had later “intruded into the main area of the college, which was not fenced at that time”.
An official said that the residential plots belonged to Kashmiri Pandits who fled from the Valley during militancy in 90s.
An insider from the KGP told Kashmir Reader that the house owners have “illegally seized the college area from the hostel and residential quarters’ side” which falls in the eastern and southern side of the college.
“We took the matter up with the authorities, but to no avail,” the college insider said.
He said that the land grabbers had even “thrashed staffers of KGP” when they tried to retrieve the land a few years back.
“The house owners are doing it on the back of political connections. We took up the matter with the higher-ups, but to no avail,” the insider said.
A top official in the Technical Education Department said that the encroachment of the institution by the house owners continued even after late Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed’s intervention in the matter during the PDP-Congress coalition government.
“He (the late CM) had in fact given directions to the then DC Srinagar after visiting the college. Even demolitions were made, and we had erected a fence of tin sheets, but the house owners dismantled the fence overnight and seized the land once again,” said the official.
A college insider added, “They even stole away the tin sheets that belonged to the college,” a college insider said.
“It is an irony that we had to purchase land when new polytechnic colleges were set up. We had to spend money from the government exchequer, but here we cannot protect land that we already own,” lamented an official.
Director Technical Education Anu Malhotra told Kashmir Reader that the matter had been taken up with the concerned authorities, including the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar’s office.
She however lamented that “nothing has happened” over the matter.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan said that action would be taken on the encroachment on Monday.