Custodian land worth 100 cr retrieved from encroachers

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Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Mr. Raman Bhalla accompanied by Custodian General Mr. Baseer Ahmad Khan and other functionaries of the Custodian department conducted an extensive tour of various areas in and around Srinagar to take stock of working of the Custodian department today.

During the course of visit, the Minister visited commercial as well as residential and shopping complexes, flats and marriage halls of the department at Hyderpora, Rawalpora, Sanat Nagar, Barzulla, Batmaloo, Kathidarwaza, Hazratbal, Nishat and Gupkar locations.

During the visit of shopping complex at Hyderpora, the Minister was informed that against the expenditure of Rs. 4.85 crore booked on the complex comprising on 70 shops and 40 halls, a revenue of Rs. 7 crore has so far been realized from the tenants.

The Minister visited Dr. Sir Mohammad Iqbal Convention Centre/Marriage Hall at Rawalpora constructed by the department at a cost of Rs. 3.83 crore and was told that the hall is more beneficial for the people who prefer to book the hall on their marriage ceremonies off and on.

Mr. Bhalla also visited flats at Rawalpora, Sanat Nagar and Baghti Barzulla where the department has constructed 24 flats each at a project cost of Rs. 1.92 crore, Rs. 1.70 crore and Rs. 1.60 crore respectively and the department is earning a lot from the tenants.

The Minister also visited Majid Bagh and inspected 33 flats of the department and was told that a good amount of revenue is being realized from the tenants and their rent rates are revised after every five years.

While inspecting Marriage Hall coming up at a project cost of Rs. 4.60 crore over an area of 11 kanals of land at Kathidarwaza, the Minister was informed that the work on the project has been started during January this year and is expected to be completed with modern facilities by the end of July 2010.

The Minister also visited the prime location at Nishat where the department has retrieved 21 kanals of land from an encroacher and asked the Custodian departmental officers for fencing, watch and ward and development of the place best for tourist hutments.

During the visit, the Custodian General informed the Minister that the department has retrieved 89 kanals of land costing more than Rs. 100 crore during its drive against encroachers. He was also informed that the department has so far generated income of Rs. 9 crore during the current year against last year’s income of Rs. 6 crore.

While giving other details of the property of the department, the Minister was informed that besides 58,428 kanals of land with the department, there are 154 old houses, 90 sets, 274 shops, 73 hutments, 53 halls, 90 flats and 26 orchards with the department.

The Minister asked the officers of the Custodian department to complete such income generating projects which have the potential to create avenues for the department which is being run without budgetary support. There has to emphasize a lot on income generating assets.

The Minister also asked the department to exercise strict vigil on the custodian land in order to obviate any scope for encroachers to occupy land un-authorizedly. He directed to initiate action under EP Act for early ejection and retrieve the encroached land of the department.

The Minister appreciated the working of the department and directed them to continue the drive against encroachers and have the remaining encroached land retrieved back on war footing basis.

He stressed upon the officers of the department to take all measures for computerizing the records and inventorization of assets of the department so that the same is put on website for the general information of the public and to ensure accountability and transparency in the department.

The Minister directed the officers to prepare more projects which are income generating keeping also in view their feasibility.

The Minister directed the Custodian Department to initiate similar exercise for coming projects on the same pattern in Jammu division also on the land which has been retrieved by the department.

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