Govt demolishes Gujjar Bakerwal’s Kaccha houses in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday formed a committee headed by Principal Secretary Revenue Department to examine among others loss caused to the public exchequer by the continuous occupation of the government land by the erstwhile lessees and licensees as well as eviction of unauthorized occupants in Pahalgam, one of the famous tourist destinations in Kashmir Valley.

The committee, which among others has commissioner Jammu as a member along with his Kashmir counterpart, has been formed for implementing the orders of the High Court in a Public Interest Litigation.

According to the order, the 12-member committee has been tasked to examine the site plan with photographs and allied documents including lease, license, deeds, permissions, and sanctions.

It shall also examine disposal of public property through public auction(s), tender(s) and make recommendations, the order says further. It has been also tasked with examining proposals, if any, for renewal of leases and make recommendations besides scrutinize loss caused to the public exchequer by the continuous occupation of the Government land by the erstwhile lessees and licencees.

The panel has been also tasked to take steps for retrieval of public property from illegal and unauthorised occupants and also take steps for eviction of unauthorised occupants as well as propose amendments in laws, rules etc required for implementation of directions of the Court.

Meanwhile, the move has evoked sharp criticism from the Gujjar and Bakarwal community, “I am unable to understand why the Forest Department has started to demolish the Kothas. Neither have we occupied these lands nor do we live there permanently. We live there for 6 months during summers but why is this being done,” Zahid Parwaz Choudhary, President Jammu and Kashmir Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference tweeted sharing the video from Pahalgam.

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