In Baramulla town vast stretches of land is unutilised and efforts to convert the government land into public utilities is being silently stonewalled by officials. From past four decades around 100 kanals of land is under the occupation of two officers.
As the land is being used as residential houses of Executive Engineer, Roads and Buildings and Superintending Engineer, Roads and Buildings department. Ironically, these two officers seldom stay at these places.
The prime land could have been easily converted into either a beautiful park or government could have constructed two big shopping malls with proper parking facilities in the area so that land could have been put in a better use.
“This land is located in the heart of the town and could be used for many public service things. However, officials are least bothered about its utility,’ says Sheikh Imtiyaz who owns two big shops in front of the government Bunglows . Earlier, the government had made some proposals to construct shopping mall and a parking slot at the place; however, officials of R&B created impediment and proposal for shelved.
“It needs to convert this land into some public utility centre. It will give many people employment and generate revenue for the government,” says Mohammad Shafi another business man. Now it remains to be seen whether government will give preference to the demand of entire town or two officers who could be easily accommodated at an alternative location.
General Secretary, Baramulla Traders Federation told The Legitimate that they have already pinpointed vacant portion of land in the town and its vicinities which could be converted into useful space. ‘It’s the officials who are least bothered about development of the town. They are in favour of status quo. Which is unacceptable to us. We will keep on fighting for this. “
Locals said that there are around half a dozen places or stretches of land which could be utilized for public benefits. Recently, an office bearer of Greater Baramulla Forum, Shamas us din Maknoo put pictures of all the places on the social media which could be utilized by the government for alternate public service spaces. Maknoo even sought help from the officials and local people those who matter for this conversion.
“Our town lacks few parking slots and good shopping malls and a town hall. We have space and land but it needs political will for this. So far it seems useless. ‘
Locals said that spaces at Tehsil office, old district hospital, information office , veterinary complex , Flood and Irrigation office and PDD complex could be properly developed so that common masses could use it properly.
The town is currently in a mess due to absence of parking slots as there is not a single parking slot available in the town. Though two places were earmarked for the purpose however it became the victim of official red tape. Recently, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in her public darbar at Baramulla was reminded by some delegations about these vacant places, however chief minister herself remained non committal.
Recently Baramulla could have been robbed off by two important offices – Passport Office and Joint Director Education. The officers had wrote to these high ups that due to space crunch these two offices should be shifted to some other town. However it was only after public protests that these offices were kept in Baramulla .
People of town have a firm belief that from past many decades a conspiracy is being hatched against the town and deliberately offices are being shifted from Baramulla.
“This was once the largest district of JK. From Karnah to Narbal to Gurez. It was robbed one by one from its precious jewels. Now people won’t allow this to happen anymore.”