Srinagar: Taxi drivers have illegally occupied a prime plot of land worth over Rs 100 crore belonging to Srinagar Development Authority with officials having failed to evict them even after passage of four days.
About 50 taxi drivers allegedly forced their way into the compound housing the store of SDA on Maulana Azad Link Road on the intervening night of August 24 and 25 and parked their vehicles there.
SDA officials have also claimed that they have put up banners `declaring` the plot, measuring around 1.6 acres and valued at over Rs 100 crore, as a taxi stand.
The officials concerned of the SDA have given a written complaint to the police for lodging an FIR against the trespassers and evicting them from the premises but no action has been taken so far.
"An organised gang of about 50 Sumo (Taxi) drivers, supported by some notorious property dealers, forcibly broke into the well-fortified store premises of SDA at 2300 hours on August 24. They bulldozed the walling and structures worth lakhs of rupees for illegal establishment of a taxi stand," the SDA said in its complaint to the police.
The SDA said repeated attempts by its enforcement wing to prevent these "criminal trespassers" from vandalising the SDA property was met with "furious assault" on the team.
The Vice Chairman of the authority Mohammad Shafi Rather raised the matter with senior police officials including IGP Kashmir AG Mir SSP Srinagar Aashiq Hussain Bukhari, the complaint said.
"You are requested to kindly register a case, apprehend and evict the culprits from the SDA store premises," it added.
An official of the SDA said so far police has not taken any action on the complaint and the senior officials have decided to approach the High Court to seek directions for evicting the encroachers in this regard.
"We held a meeting with the encroachers in order to persuade them to vacate the land but some of them said they have been in jail for several years already and any forcible eviction can lead to bloodbath," the official said on condition of anonymity.
He said the presence of the sumo stand also poses a threat to the SDA`s state-of-the-art Sangarmaal Shopping complex which is opposite the encroached land.
Besides, Deputy Chief Minister and several top officials of the state government and central government reside within a stone`s throw away from the store premises.
While SSP Srinagar said he would "look into the matter", Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Shailendra Kumar blamed the SDA officials for not taking action.
"I have been telling the Vice Chairman of the SDA that we will provide a magistrate and police protection and they should get the encroachers removed. However, he has not done anything so far," Kumar said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the state High Court is already hearing a Public Interest Litigation on transport issues of Srinagar. The court has banned establishing of any new transport stand in the heart of the city which includes the area which has been encroached upon.