JAMMU: With districts reporting average 70 percent success in retrieving the alleged encroached land, the Jammu and Kashmir government is set to extend its anti-encroachment drive beyond January 31.
In its widely criticised circular issued on January 9 this year, the union territory administration had directed all the Deputy Commissioners to ensure 100% removal of encroachments from State land including Roshni and Kahcharai by 31st January and furnish details on daily basis, with the Divisional Commissioners asked to monitor the drive on a regular basis.
With just a day to go in its initial deadline, The Dispatch reached out to the Deputy Commissioners in all 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir, and the assessment that one gathers is that 70-75% of the alleged encroached land is retrieved as on Monday evening across the union territory.
The Revenue Secretary, Vijay Kumar Bidhuri confirmed to The Dispatch late Monday evening that the anti-encroachment drive will continue beyond January 31.
Some of the deputy commissioners were confident that they would achieve the set targets on the last day. However, some of them told The Dispatch that they will continue with the drive, beyond January 31 as well.
Large tracks, high-value land target of anti-encroachment drive; poor people not on priority: Bidhuri
It is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court is also going to hear the limited aspects of the matter on Tuesday.
On January 20, the apex court, while hearing a urgent application filed by Akbar Rashid and 5 others from Dodasan in Rajouri, seeking a stay on the January 9 circular, had asked Jammu and Kashmir government to not evict the petitioners till January 31, while refusing to grant a general stay on the ongoing drive.
SC orders status quo for Rajouri petitioners till Jan 31, refuses stay on ongoing eviction drive
The stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the legal fraternity, are watching the development with keen interest whether the Supreme Court might widen the ambit of the plea to pass an order on the entire eviction exercise or for the entire union territory.
Some believe that if the court passes an order against the government on the limited aspects of the matter– the six petitioners from Rajouri, it might offer an analogy to refer in the court of law for others in the coming days. Other believe that if the supreme court uphold the eviction drive, this will embolden the government, which would pace up the drive with added vigour in the days to come.
Why Jammu and Kashmir Govt must tread cautiously on the troubled land
On Monday, the anti-encroachment drive continued across Jammu and Kashmir, with large tracks of land, valued in crores being retrieved. While a number of districts in Kashmir touched 80% success mark, large encroachments were removed from the districts in Jammu region as well, with Reasi and Ramban together witnessing retrieval of around 3900 kanals on Monday only. Land measuring 63 kanal but valued very high was also retrieved in capital city Jammu, which also witnessed a complete shutdown in Sunjwan and Bathindi areas on Monday morning, first in the entire union territory.
First complete shutdown response to eviction drive comes from Bathindi, Sunjwan; MP Khatana joins