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Senior BJP leader gets notice to demolish illegally-built bungalow in Jammu

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Senior BJP leader gets notice to demolish illegally-built bungalow in Jammu
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Jammu: Citing construction without permission, the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) has directed former J&K state Deputy CM and senior BJP leader, Nirmal Singh, to raze down his bungalow built near an Army ammunition depot in Nagrota, The Indian Express (TIE) reports.

A November 8 order of demolition directed Singh and his wife Mamta Singh to remove the structure within five days of issuance of the order. Building Operations Controlling Authority, Jammu, who issued the order, stated that failing to demolish the building in the stipulated period, JDA's enforcement wing will do the same. The cost for the process will be recovered from him as arrears of land revenue. The order mentioned that for the show-cause notices sent to Singh under sections 7(1), 12(1) and 12(2) of J&K Control of Building Operation Act, 1988, asking him to stop and remove construction, no reply has been received by the office yet.

Talking to TIE, Nirmal Singh claimed that he was "being singled out", and it has become part of certain people's agenda to politicise the issue. Referring to his political rivals, he said that a thousand houses are being built in Jammu every day, but a "jihadi" group is only targeting him. They are not looking at Bathindi, where NC leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have built houses. There should be a "rule of law", he said. But he hasn't elaborated or provided further details of those 'targeting' him. He said that he had asked his lawyers to challenge the demolition in court.

Singh and family moved into the new bungalow, built on a 2000-square metre plot, in July. This was despite court orders in May 2018 that authorities should ensure implementation of the 2015 government notification barring the general public from construction within 1000 yards of defence works. The High Court order was in response to a writ petition by the Union government challenging the construction of the bungalow, which stated that it was just 580 yards from the perimeter wall of the sub-depot. The petition was filed after city police didn't stop its construction despite written requests from Nagrota-based 16 Corps Headquarters.

A month after the construction was initiated, the army asked Jammu Deputy Commissioner to direct the police and civil administration to stop it, stating that the structure was violating the Works of Defence Act, 1903, but in vain. Nirmal Singh was Deputy CM then.

TIE had reported this September that the Union Territory administration had declared the building "illegal" as a response to an RTI query.

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