Srinagar Administration Demolishes 25 Houses for Rejuvenation of Khushal Sar Lake

Reported by

Mubashir Bukhari

Published on

December 6, 2021

December 6, 2021

Updated on

December 6, 2021

Location of Conflict

Srinagar

Srinagar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Water Management

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1

ha

Starting Year

2021

State

Jammu and Kashmir

Sector

Infrastructure

On November 11, 2021, the Srinagar district administration demolished 25 houses built around the Khushal Sar lake and retrieved 1.2 hectares of land from illegal occupants. The administration recently started a massive demolition drive for rejuvenation and restoration of the lake. Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Aijaz Asad, under whose watch the demolition drive took place, told LCW that the administration would continue such drives and retrieve all the occupied land in the city from 'encroachers'. We have to protect and save the water body in the larger public interest, he said. This was the fourth demolition drive in Srinagar since October. So far, the government has demolished 95 structures for the purpose of restoration of the Khushal Sar lake. MehrajuDin Bajad, a resident of the area, told LCW that they had purchased the land from property dealers but the government was demolishing their homes in the name of restoration of the lake. Why is the government not arresting property dealers who sold this land? We have been living here for years. Why did the district magistrate not object when we were building our houses? The government only remembers lakes and other places for conservation after we have spent lakhs on construction, he said, adding that more than 25 families have been left without a home and are putting up at their relatives places. Umar Khan, another resident, told LCW that they went from pillar to post to object the demolition but in vain. We even held sitins at Press Colony, Srinagar, hoping that the higherups would listen to our grievances, but no such luck. According to the affected families, their livelihood depends on the lake and the land surrounding it. We grow vegetables here, including nadru (lotus stem), which would fetch us good money. Where will we grow our food if we are evicted from the area? he said. The residents have demanded rehabilitation, but the government has refused claiming they had illegally occupied the land. The government believes that restoration of lakes in the city will reactivate the original water navigation circuit in Srinagar. The government is also trying to rejuvenate the Gilsar and Vicharnag water bodies. According to government officials, rejuvenation of Khushal Sar Lake in Srinagar is one of the best examples of the civil society and government working together to rejuvenate water bodies. In two months time, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation has lifted around 820 trucks of muck, silt and weed from the lake.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand for rehabilitation

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Case Laws, Central/State Government Policy, Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, 2010
Section 3: [Every water source in the state is the property of the government]; Section 4(zb): [The state government shall prescribe a state water policy to prevent encroachment on existing water bodies]; Section 83(2): [State authorities may order the removal of any encroachment or obstruction to embankments or the waterway of any water source]
Notification No. SRO-456, State Water Policy and Plan, Jammu and Kashmir dated October 25, 2017
Point 5.3: [Relevant authorities must remove encroachments from water bodies and restore them to their original state]
Jammu and Kashmir Development Act, 1970
Section 25(1): [State authorities may order the removal of any building that has been constructed without permission or in contravention to zonal plans]
Jagpal Singh and Ors. v. State of Punjab (2011 (11) SCC 396, Supreme Court)
The Supreme Court directed all states to prepare policies to remove encroachments from commons such as lakes and waterways
Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017
Rule 4(2)(i) [This rule restricts the conversion of wetlands for non-wetland uses, including any encroachment]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

No items found.

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Srinagar District Administration

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Aijaz Asad told LCW that the administration would continue such drives and retrieve all the occupied land in the city from 'encroachers'. "We have to protect and save the water body," he said.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Aijaz Asad told LCW that the administration would continue such drives and retrieve all the occupied land in the city from 'encroachers'. "We have to protect and save the water body," he said.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

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