SRINAGAR, July 17: Authorities on Tuesday launched a drive to curb illegal land broking and locked temporarily premises of various real estate dealers operating in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
This follows a similar action on Monday in the capital Srinagar by the Jammu and Kashmir Revenue Department.
During the last one and a half year there has been a mushroom growth of estate agents, land brokers across Kashmir resulting in real estate prices booming with experts not ruling out a price bubble.
These estate agents are allegedly also selling government land to innocent buyers.
“On the instructions of District Magistrate, Budgam, a special squad consisting of Revenue and Police officials led by Tehsildar Budgam in a swift action seized offices of 9 land brokers who were found involved in fraudulent malpractices while dealing in land affairs in the district,” an official spokesperson said.
The District Magistrate also asked people to remain vigilant and not to get trapped by “nefarious designs of these people”.
Earlier this year government decided to recover thousands of Kanals of encroached common government land most of which was illegally occupied since militancy broke out in the state over two decades ago.
The decision came after a Supreme Court directive in January this year warning state governments against allotting common government land to private persons and commercial enterprises and then “regularising” such illegal encroachment in return for money.
The apex court directed chief secretaries of all the states to prepare schemes to evict “unscrupulous” trespassers who had grabbed land using muscle power or political clout.
As a first step the deputy commissioners of districts and the revenue officials were asked to identify the encroached land like gram sabha lands (village councils) , streams, ponds, other water bodies, grazing lands, lands meant for pathways, storing grains, passages, cremation and burial grounds and lands for other common use of the people.
But the government has so far failed bitterly to get government land back.