Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital yesterday evicted an illegally set-up taxi stand in the heart of the city but appeared helpless before those who have set up another stand on prime land owned by the state government.
Carrying out the orders of the state high court, the Srinagar district magistrate and senior superintendent of police supervised the sealing of an unauthorized taxi stand near the tourist reception centre (TRC).
Contingents of police were moved in to evict those who had set up the taxi stand near the TRC during the night.
The authorities told they were acting as per the directions of the state high court.
Barely 100 metres away from the taxi stand sealed yesterday, a group of encroachers – claiming to be taxi drivers – literally bulldozed their way a few days onto a plot measuring 1.6 acres, estimated to be worth over Rs.100 crore without the authorities even batting an eyelid.
The land belongs to the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) whose officials told they had even obtained a court direction on police to investigate the matter and report back to the court within three days.
“Police are delaying any action against the encroachers who claim the blessings of some senior ruling party politicians,” said an official of the SDA who did not want to be named.
Tanvir Sadiq, political secretary to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, however told reporters that if the land had been encroached upon, eviction of the trespassers would take place.
In another twist to the drama, some of the encroachers have told the SDA officials that they are former guerrillas and any action against them would be fraught with serious risks to the lives of the SDA officials or those who try to evict them.
The encroached piece of prime land is hardly 30 metres away from the official residence of Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand.