Seeks records of all constructions permitted on Jhelum banks since 1947
Srinagar: Prohibiting construction of a commercial building that is coming up on the banks of the Jhelum near Abdullah Bridge in Srinagar, the J&K High Court on Tuesday directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to also file an affidavit indicating ownership of land on which construction has come up along the river Jhelum since the year 1947.
The court asked the officer to enclose copies of revenue records pertaining to constructions which have been permitted to come up on the land with effect from 1947, along with details of permissions so granted in chronological order.
“In case the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir requires any assistance or information from any other authority, he shall seek the same from the concerned departments who shall cooperate with him and forthwith make available relevant information,” the court directed.
“Such affidavit shall be positively filed before the next date of hearing,” the court directed.
Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta were hearing a case related to an illegal construction which has come up near the Abdullah bridge on River Jhelum.
The judges said that the building in question which has been permitted to come up was certainly not in existence in the year 2014 when the floods occurred.
“We have no manner or doubt that the land in question was completely submerged,” the division bench noted, while mentioning that River Jhelum was an inland waterway under the Inland Waterways Act of 1985.
“As per Section 2(3) and Entry 49 Schedule of National Waterways Act 2016, River Jhelum was declared as a National Waterway. For any structure to be constructed thereon requires permission. As per the applicant, no such permission has been obtained,” the court noted.
“The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir shall conduct an inquiry and place before us the permission sought to Inland Waterway Authority of India before the next date of hearing,” the court directed.
The court also noted that if the River Jhelum was to overflow again, the obstruction caused by the building in question to the flow of the water would result in immediate serious flooding of surrounding areas.
“Construction at the spot is clearly opposed to public interest,” the court said, and directed the J&K State Pollution Control Board to file an affidavit with regard to the permission granted by it to the owner of the building in question regarding discharge of sewage / treated effluents from it to any STP before it flows into the River Jhelum. “The copies of application(s), permissions granted to the owner / builder shall be placed on record before us before the next date of hearing,” the court ordered.
The Inspector General of Police, Traffic, was directed by the court to inform as to the permission granted by it to raise a commercial structure at the spot in question and the plan in place for management of the burden on the traffic due to this commercial structure.
Meantime, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the Revenue Department and the Irrigation and Flood Control Department were asked to file affidavits with regard to the permission(s) granted for construction of a multi-storeyed commercial building which is barely about 10 to 15 feet from the banks of the Jhelum.
“Copies of applications and permission be placed before us before the next date of hearing,” the court ordered.
The court also directed authorities to place before the Court details of the permissions which have been granted to construction of similar structures along the banks of the Jhelum.
Additional Advocate General BA Dar was directed by the court to place tabulation of all orders passed by the Court prohibiting or permitting constructions in or around the flood plains, flood channels and the River Jhelum.
“The affidavits and status reports in this regard shall be filed before us positively before the next date of hearing,” the court directed.
“Till the Court considers the matter and passes appropriate orders, no construction / renovation / completion, etc, at all of any kind shall be carried out on the building in question. The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir shall ensure that this direction is complied with,” the court ordered.