In a politically significant development, the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) has asked a senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh to
demolish within five days his “illegally” constructed bungalow in the vicinity of Army’s ammunition depot at Nagrota in the outskirts of Jammu. The JDA has served a notice to Nirmal Singh who was deputy CM in the BJP—PDP coalition government.
The palatial bungalow constructed by him at Nagrota, where headquarters of the strategic 16 Corps of the Indian Army is located, has remained in controversy eversince Nirmal Singh started its construction in 2017.
He moved into the bungalow few months ago although the High Court had in May 2018 directed the authorities to ensure “strict implementation” of the 2015 notification barring any construction near the defence installation.
Nirmal Singh had earlier called the issue as a political conspiracy against him. Nirmal Singh was reportedly consulting his lawyers on the notice that was issued on 8 November to him and his wife Mamta Singh.
Ordering demolition of the building, the JDA has said it was constructed without obtaining valid permission from the competent authority.
The JDA directed Nirmal Singh and his wife to “remove the illegal construction on your own level within five days from the date of issuance of the order.
If you fail to remove the illegal construction within the stipulated period of time, the same shall be demolished by the enforcement wing of JDA and cost of removal shall be recovered from you as arrears of land revenue,'' the JDA added.
It is worth mentioning that a month after construction of the bungalow started in October 2017, the Army requested the then Deputy Commissioner, Jammu, through a letter on 2 November 2017 to order the concerned police authority and civil administration to stop it since the construction was in violation of the Works of Defence Act, 1903. Nirmal Singh was at that time deputy chief minister.
The Army also lodged a written complaint with Nagrota Police Station on 27 November 2017 but with no response, Corps Commander 16 Corps Lt General Sanjeet Singh wrote on19 March 2018 directly to Nirmal Singh stating that the construction was illegal and had “implications on the security of a major ammunition storage facility as well as safety of all personnel living in close vicinity of the ammunition depot’’. Following no response, the Army finally filed a petition before the High Court in May 2018.