The Ghulam Nabi Azad Government in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to retrieve or get money for 20 lakh kanal or 2.5 lakh acres of government land under illegal occupation of the people for decades.
The current market price of this land is Rs 25,000 crore- a staggering amount in a state, which is more than the amount of the budget of the state for the past 10 years.
The state cabinet meeting on Wednesday has deliberated on the issue and decided to take stringent steps to unshackle the government land under illegal occupation of land sharks across the state. All sorts of land- belong to the revenue department, forests and different other departments are under occupation.
“ I think there was a need for someone to take this bold initiative on this count, I thought I would do it,” he told Hindustan Times.
He has a carrot and stick policy to get this land vacated or gets the money for the state exchequer for that.
"The illegally occupied land, on which no construction has taken place, will be retrieved. The state will get back this land.” but the occupiers of the land with farmers or where residential or commercial establishments have come up, will be asked to shell out money for that.”
And those occupiers who will deposit the money within three months, they would be entitled to 30 per cent discount and those doing it six months to 15 per cent and those in a year would get only 10 per cent discount. Those doing it between one year and two will get no discount.
Those failing to do it by next two years will not have only to pay the cost of the land but also penalty on that.
The punitive clause will be invoked for the government officials, especially of the revenue department, for having illegally transferred the land to the illegal occupiers. “ They are the basic culprits.”
Azad is conscious that the land mafia is powerful. “ They have the money and muscle power and they had been using it to retain the possession of the land, but the state will use all the force to get the land vacated for them. It is the property of the state, it must come back to it,” Azad said.
Chief Minister said that he has got a wide support for this move from the people who had been helplessly watching the land grabbers become neo-riche overnight through their muscle power and illicit dealings with the officials.