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Srinagar: Land mafia calls shots as SDA fails to act
11/28/2020 11:50:26 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Early Times Report

Srinagar, Nov 28: The Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) has failed to crackdown on the land mafia, selling land on higher prices to gullible buyers.
Early Times visited some of the sites of SDA in the Bemina area of Srinagar and found land is being sold at exorbitant prices by the land mafia.
“A land measuring 25’x40 situated in housing colony Bemina under development estate Rakh- Gund Aksha is offered between Rs 45 to Rs 50 lakh,” said one of the local residents in the colony.
He said a few years before at the time of allotment the premium cost of the said plot was two Rs 255000, (Rupees two lakh fifty five thousand).
The colony is located along the Bemian Bypass hardly five kilometers from the heart of the Srinagar city which makes it easier for the land sharks to lure investors on the pretext of the location being strategic.
Number of plots in Housing colony Bemina known as MIG, HIG Colony have been kept unutilized from the last several years. “There are plots in these colonies which are lying unutilized since decades. Definitely it seems that they have kept them to be sold at higher rates,” said one of the local residents.
Over the years thousands of acres of the prime agricultural land in Kashmir have been converted for construction purposes.
Way back, according to a media report, police were investigating, land scam involving sale of residential plots, through fraudulent means, at government-owned Housing Colony Bemina.
According to the news agency report the preliminary investigations by police had revealed that around a dozen residential plots in Housing Colony Bemina, developed by Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), was sold by the land mafia “in connivance some SDA employees, using forged documents including cash receipts, ration cards and bank drafts”.
“A case was registered in Police Station Parimpora and investigations were started to catch hold of all the accused. “Yes a case has been registered in Police Station Parimpora regarding the fraudulent sale of SDA plots and investigations are on,” the then SSP Srinagar had said as per the news agency report.
The Police had said that the scandal surfaced as one local residents of Bemina approached the SDA authorities with an official payment receipt of Rs 5 lakh, purportedly issued by the SDA, against a plot at its Housing Colony Bemina.
“The amount was shown to be deposited in the name of Vice-Chairman SDA through a Bank Draft prepared at J&K Bank. The SDA authorities got suspicious of the genuineness of the receipt as they found some forged entries in its serial number and on internal inquiry it turned out to be fake,”.
“The matter was immediately referred to the police by the Vice-Chairman SDA, and the police after preliminary investigations had found that around a dozen SDA plots were sold/transferred fraudulently and crores of rupees changed hands in the plot-selling racket involving a group of land brokers and some SDA employees,” the media report had said.
One of the top officials here in the SDA said that they are aware about the matter and soon they will initiate action in this regard. " We are identifying those plots which are unutilized. Action will be taken. I assure you that the action will also be taken against the land mafia," said the official wishing not to be named.
It is to mention here that the SDA’s mandate is to manage the land transferred to it by the government from time to time, develop it to create better infrastructure to cater to the needs and demands of the fast expanding Srinagar urban area.
Over the years SDA has created massive infrastructure like commercial and office complexes, residential colonies, parks, community halls and green belts in and around Srinagar.
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