No intention of new land transfer: Jammu and Kashmir
The clarification came after the union territory (UT) administration’s decision to notify some locations as “strategic areas” for the armed forces to enable construction activity there.Updated: Jul 20, 2020 01:27 IST
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday clarified that it had no intention of transferring any new land to the armed forces or declare land outside military cantonments as strategic.
The clarification came after the union territory (UT) administration’s decision to notify some locations as “strategic areas” for the armed forces to enable construction activity there. The decision triggered outrage among political parties who have termed it an attempt to disempower the people and turn the UT into a military establishment.
The UT’s administrative council on Friday approved the proposal to amend the Control of Building Operations Act, 1988, and the J&K Development Act, 1970 to provide a special dispensation for carrying out construction in strategic areas.
“The decision has nothing to do with the transfer of any land to the armed forces. The transfer, both acquisition or requisition, continues to be governed by the existing law and the norms on the subject. There is no decision to either transfer any new land or declare areas outside cantonments or army land as strategic. In fact, it is the stated policy of the Government to regulate and harmonize the requirement of land by the armed forces to meet the competing demands of development and internal security, “ an official spokesman said on Sunday.
The National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and People’s Conference have been critical of the amendments.
“A few political parties are deliberately misleading people as if land is being transferred to armed forces and entire J&K is being turned into a military establishment. It is being alleged that new areas are going to be declared as strategic where laws regulating development will not prevail. All these are baseless comments being made without reading facts, “ the spokesman said.
The spokesman said that keeping in view the strategic importance of constructing infrastructure within a defined timeframe, it has been felt that a special mechanism needs to be put in place for such strategic infrastructure needs.
“It simply means that in the so called notified “strategic areas”, within existing armed forces land, the responsibility of ensuring that construction activities are undertaken as per the developmental control regulation of the master plan and all environmental safeguards are observed, has been delegated to the Armed Forces themselves, “ the spokesman said.
The political partie alleged that notifying ‘strategic areas’ was an attempt to unrecognisably alter the destiny of the people of Kashmir and construction activities in strategic areas is ruse to allow “demographic change.”
The spokesman said that adequate safeguards have been kept to ensure that the provisions are not misused.
“Only an army authority, not below the level of a corps commander, could make a request to the government for earmarking such area as strategic only for direct operational and training requirements of armed forces. Additionally, the government will satisfy itself about the reasons cited for declaring the areas as strategic area and will have such area notified accordingly, to the extent and with such conditions as may be required, “ the spokesman said.
It said that the special dispensation neither gives any powers to the armed forces to acquire more land in the Jammu & Kashmir, nor does it allow them any unbridled powers without observing environmental safeguards and development control regulations.
“ It only facilitates fast tracking of the construction of strategic assets, in the overall national interest, while observing all norms”.