Srinagar: As the law enforcing agencies are busy with relief and rehabilitation of flood survivors in Kashmir, many unscrupulous elements are taking advantage of the situation by resorting to illegal constructions.
Several temporary shops are being turned into concrete in Residency Road area in the heart of the city even as Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), which is responsible for stopping these acts, is busy clearing the mess in the city created by the century's worst flood.
Local police officials said they were watching the vandalisation of the commercial hub of the city "helplessly".
"If it were one or two, we would take action under preventive laws but there are so many that it can lead to law and order problem," they said.
Some shopkeepers accused the SMC officials of being hand in glove with the building law violators saying the floods have only provided a cover for this activity.
"These shops, especially in Regal Lane, Forest Lane and Abi Guzar Lane are temporary allotments which can be removed any time. Some of them have been converted into two-storey showrooms as recently as last year," they said.
In the other areas of the city also, houses are being constructed illegally without building permission from the authorities concerned.
Several houses are coming up on lands owned by temples and temple trusts, in clear violation of court orders.
Residents of Gulberg colony alleged that two government employees have constructed houses on a temple land.
"Last year, FIRs were registered by Revenue department against the two persons for earth-filling of temple trust land. These two influential people are constructing second storey of their houses and no action has been taken," the residents alleged.
Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Shah last month had ordered an inquiry into the allegations saying the report will be submitted within three days and action taken against the guilty, if any. "If the allegations are found to be true, I have directed that an FIR be filed against the concerned persons," he had said.
However, the Deputy Commissioner could not be contacted for his comments as the telecommunication network has not been fully restored.
SMC Commissioner G N Qasba also could not be contacted.