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- Legislators corner govt over land scheme
Roshni Scheme generated only Rs 76 cr against target of `25,000 cr
Tribune News Service
Jammu, April 4
Members cutting across party lines today cornered the state government in the Assembly over the failure of the much hyped Roshni Scheme. Legislators claimed that land mafia had derived benefit from the scheme while deserving people were facing harassment. Besides opposition members, Congress members also took the government to task on the issue.
The scheme was launched for those holding government land illegally for years. Under the scheme, they could get the land ownership right by paying some amount to the government.
The members have reason to corner the government because the scheme has so far generated only Rs 76 crore against the target of Rs 25,000 crore, which the government had planned to utilise for tapping the massive hydropower potential of the state.
“This scheme has proved to be a total failure because deserving landless people are yet to get ownership rights while land grabbers who had encroached on huge chunks of government land have managed to get ownership under this scheme”, said Jammu State Morcha (JSM) MLA Ashwani Kumar Sharma.
He reminded the government that when the scheme was started, it was announced that Rs 25,000 crore would be generated from it.
“Only Rs 76.24 crore has been generated so far against the target of Rs 25,000 crore which reflects that there are flaws in the scheme,” shouted Panthers Party member Balwant Singh Mankotia, who was also joined in the protest by his party colleague Harsh Dev Singh, CPM member M Y Tarigami.
“This scheme has provided an opportunity to the land mafia to legalise its illegal encroachment,” Tarigami said while seeking a reply from the government about the number of landless farmers who have given the ownership right.
Mankotia demanded that a House Committee should be constituted to conduct an inquiry because a number of influential persons, including politicians and bureaucrats, had managed to get their illegally encroached upon land legalised through the scheme.
Earlier in the day Minister of State for Revenue and Rehabilitation Ajaz Ahmad Khan had informed the House that the government had realised Rs 76.24 crore so far from the occupants of the state land by conferring on them the ownership rights of the land under Roshni Scheme.
The minister said 75,369 applications had been disposed of so far under the scheme and 78,860 such applications were pending.
Khan said the J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership of the Occupants) Act was enacted by the government to confer ownership rights on the occupants in possession of the state land prior to 2004. He said the objective of Roshni Scheme was both to generate revenue and at the same time give ownership rights to the marginal occupants and agriculturists at a nominal cost.
The minister said so far the committee concerned had approved ownership rights cases of Rs 316 crore and the realisation of the cost of the land was being done from the occupants concerned. He assured that the pending cases would be approved in due course.CommentQuote0Flag
- Originally Posted by McLordGanjManoj bhai, can non residents of J&K buy in Jammu? I don't think we can buy in the valley of kashmir, but still wondering where can we buy in J&K ? Thanks
Indian citizens from other states can not purchase land or property in J & K .CommentQuote0Flag
- Constructions on agricultural land go unabated in Anantnag
Anantnag, April 10
Agricultural land across Anantnag is shrinking fast, courtesy rampant construction of commercial as well as residential structures in the district for over a decade.
Reports said despite the government imposing a ban on such constructions, they were going on in full swing.
“Rich and affluent people get the necessary permissions for construction over agricultural land. The ban remains in force for lesser mortals,” said an official in the Revenue Department.
He said constructions were going on at almost all the agricultural land stretches in the district and that the department had chosen not to interfere while the people with political clout continued to vandalise the agricultural land.
“You can see for yourself. The most evident of them all is the construction on the farm land along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway,” the official said.
“This stretch from Bijbehara to Batengoo used to be a lush green, open space of farm land five years ago. Now, the land has transformed into a concrete jungle with residential and commercial establishments multiplying like rabbits,” he said.
Same is the case with the other stretches of agricultural land across the district.
“The time is not far when Anantnag district will not produce any agricultural products and the blame would fall on the authorities,” said a local farmer, Abdul Hameed.
Sources said officials in the district administration who opposed such illegal constructions met with stiff resistance from political power houses of the state.
“What can we do if the government is not serious about enforcing such bans in letter and spirit? We have our hands tied and affluent people continue to use the fragile farm land as they please with the patronage of their political godfathers,” said a high-ranking official in the district administration on the condition of anonymity.CommentQuote0Flag
- HC bans construction at Gulmarg
Wants Master Plan in three months; puts stop to fresh leases too
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, April 18
In a major decision, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the authorities not to grant permission for raising any new constructions at Gulmarg and has asked them to expedite the Gulmarg Master Plan and complete it within three months.
The court has also banned grant of any fresh land lease in Gulmarg till the completion of the Master Plan.
These directions were issued by a division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magery this week in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Mohammad Rafiq Zargar through his counsel advocate Mian Qayoom, wherein he had sought indulgence of the High Court in safeguarding eco-sensitive areas of Gulmarg and Tangmarg from illegal constructions.
Earlier on April 8, while taking note of the “illegal constructions” in eco-sensitive areas of Tangmarg and Gulmarg in north Kashmir, the J&K High Court had sought the personal appearance of the Chief Secretary with all details on the
“We deem it proper to direct the respondents to ensure formulation of the (Gulmarg) Master Plan as expeditiously as possible, preferably within three months from today. The Chief Town Planner shall keep this court posted with the progress thereof by filing fortnightly status reports”, the HC division bench observed in its eight-page detailed orders in the PIL.
In his status report to the Court filed on April 15, Chief Secretary Mohammad Iqbal Khanday had submitted that during a “high-level meeting” chaired by him on April 10, 2013, the matter related to illegal constructions and violation at Gulmarg and its adjoining eco-sensitive areas (Tangmarg) was discussed and it was decided that the Chief Town Planner, Kashmir, should start the exercise for formulation of Gulmarg Master Plan and complete it within a year.
“Given the urgency involved in the matter and the need to take urgent steps to preserve the hill station from degradation, we feel that the period of one year is too long a period, particularly in view of the fact that it is admitted that the illegal occupation of land and illegal constructions thereon have been undergoing under the very nose of the local authorities without serious and meaningful demur from them,” the HC observed.
In its orders, the High Court has also said that till the formulation of the Master Plan, no fresh (land) holding lease(s) be granted by the authorities in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA). “The respondent (authorities) are also directed not to grant fresh permission for raising any new constructions (at Gulmarg),” it has said.
The court also directed that the committees constituted by the Chief Secretary for considering cases for extension or renewal of leases in respect of live and expired leases should file fortnightly status reports before the High Court to indicate the progress made in its field of responsibility.
The Chief Secretary in his status report had submitted that a decision to constitute two committees under the Chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, had been taken to consider the cases of lease extension or renewal.
The High Court also asked the Chief Secretary to keep the bench posted with the information sought by him from the GDA about the cases filed in various courts and the steps taken by the GDA to defend these cases.
The High Court has also asked the authorities to file detailed status report about the land under Army possession in Gulmarg, as the Chief Secretary in his previous status report had submitted that the Army has also raised constructions on the land under its possession. The PIL is listed for further consideration on May 1, 2013.CommentQuote0Flag
- 1,300 kanals of state land under illegal occupation outside J-K
Tribune News Service
Jammu, April 21
The ruling National Conference-Congress coalition is yet to retrieve 1,300 kanals, owned by Jammu and Kashmir outside the state, from illegal occupants and various state governments. Not only the land, but also buildings and other assets belonging to the state are under illegal occupation in various states as the lease deeds signed with the parties in most cases have expired.
“The state government has 1,251 kanals and four marlas of land at Sirsa in Haryana as per the revenue records. The land has been surreptitiously transferred in the name of the Mirpur Cooperative Society by the Assistant Collector, Ist Class,” said an official document of the Hospitality and Protocol Department headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
The document said the government was in the process of filing a writ petition in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh to retrieve the land from unauthorised occupants.
Similarly, the state government had 32 kanals and nine marlas of land at Daim Gunj - Tapai road, Amritsar, which was under the unauthorised occupation of the families of original lessees for many years.
“Land measuring 30 kanals has been decreed in favour of the state government and it is perusing to take the actual position of the land. The remaining land is a subject matter of litigation,” the department has said in the document.
According to the Hospitality and Protocol Department, the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment has occupied a commercial building (812 square yards) at Sector 17 A, Chandigarh, comprising four floors and a basement. “The government has taken up the matter with the Ministry of Labour for vacation of the building. It is yet to get a response despite repeated reminders by the J&K Government in the recent past,” the department said.
At Raja Ji Marg in New Delhi, 96 kanals out of 114 kanals and 11 marlas of the state government was on lease with the Military Engineering Wing of the Ministry of Defence. “There are some staff quarters of the state government on the portion under its possession. One kanal and 11 marlas is occupied by the Central Public Works Department,” the department said.
In Mumbai, 5,802 square yards at Napean Sea Road, Mumbai, was on lease with M/s Sanghvi Construction Company, Mumbai, for 90 years with effect from June 1, 1991.
The Hospitality and Protocol Department maintains 20 state guest houses, circuit houses and VIP huts in Kashmir province while the number of guest houses, circuit houses and other buildings being maintained by the department in the Jammu region is 10.CommentQuote0Flag
- Shift houseboats to new location in Dal Lake: High Court to govt
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, May 9
Observing that the undertaking given by houseboat owners to the court has been observed in breach, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the government to give effect to the plan developed by the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) about shifting of houseboats on the Dal Lake from their present position.
The court, however, observed that it hopes and trusts that the authorities concerned would devise an objective method while shifting the houseboats to the new location. The court did not set any time frame for completing the shifting.
The LAWDA has proposed to shift the houseboats in a phased manner from their current position to the Doldrum area, which is another location inside the Dal Lake.
These directions were issued today by a division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Hasnain Masoodi.
The High Court has been hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) calling for the conservation of the Dal Lake and has been monitoring the efforts of the government in this regard for many years.
To prevent pollution in the lake and to supervise the state government’s efforts to conserve it, the court had on October 29, 2011, directed the houseboat owners to shift their anchored houseboats from their existing position at the lake by 300 feet from the Boulevard road, which forms the periphery of the lake.
The High Court had ordered that the retrieval process of around 230 houseboats should be carried out within 10 days.
These orders were passed by the court following an undertaking by the Houseboat Owners Association (HBOA), wherein it had submitted a counter-proposal and volunteered to relocate the anchored houseboats backward, around 300 feet.
However, the houseboat owners have shown
non-compliance of the court directions, which today prompted the bench to pass strong observations against them.
“The HBOA has been playing hide and seek with the court for a long time. The undertaking by them to this court has been observed in breach, which may amount to contempt. But this time, we would not like to prolong the process of relocation of houseboats further,” the Chief Justice said, when HBOA president M Azim Tuman submitted that the association had changed its lawyer and needed time to study the LAWDA’s proposal.
The Advocate-General, representing the state and the LADWA in the PIL, submitted that the government proposes to shift the houseboats to the Doldrum area in a phased manner. He, however, submitted that the new site chosen for the houseboats needed to be developed.
After hearing both sides, the bench, in its orders, observed that the proposal made by the LAWDA to shift the houseboats to the Doldrum area has to be given effect.
“In principle, it is decided that the houseboats will be shifted to the Doldrum area. The plan developed by the LAWDA be given effect. We hope and trust that an objective manner would be followed by the LAWDA while shifting the houseboats,” the bench further observed in its orders.
The houseboat owners have so for resisted realignment or shifting of the houseboats, maintaining that realignment or shifting of the houseboats at the lake is a “herculean task” and may require a lot of time and effort.
Currently, the Centrally sponsored Dal Lake Cleaning and Conservation Project, which was started in 2005, is being implemented by the LAWDA, Srinagar, under the court’s supervision. Over the years, the lake water has become polluted as sewage from hundreds of houseboats, hotels and houses on its periphery goes directly into the lake.CommentQuote0Flag
- Encroachments along Sindh river removed, DC tells HC
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, May 11
Furnishing details to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, has stated that all the illegal structures and constructions raised along the banks of the Sindh river in he district have been demolished.
The high court, which is hearing a PIL on the Sindh river, in its previous orders passed on March 4, 2013, had directed the Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, to file a supplementary report in which he was asked to indicate as to who were the encroachers and what type of encroachments had been removed.
Giving out individual details of the illegal structures and constructions along the river banks, it has been stated in the supplementary affidavit by the authorities concerned that an illegal structure in the shape of one-storey concrete building on the banks of the river at Estate Manigam in the district has been demolished.
It has also been submitted in the supplementary affidavit by the DC that as reported by tehsildar, Ganderbal, some tin sheds and concrete structures have been demolished in his jurisdiction, which had come along the river banks.
“All these structures stand demolished on the spot,” Ganderbal DC Sarmad Hafeez has further stated in his supplementary affidavit filed in the court.
During previous hearing on November 15, 2012, counsel representing the litigant in the PIL had submitted to the court that there were reports that illegal construction was still going on in the area, which had prompted the Bench to direct Ajaz Ahmad, one of the registrars of the high court, to carry out an on-the-spot inspection and submit his report.
Subsequently, the registrar visited the area for on-the-spot inspection and later filed a detailed report in the court.
The Sindh, which is a rivulet, originates from Gumri glacier ahead of Baltal, Sonamarg, in northeast Kashmir. Before merging with the Jhelum in Ganderbal, several fresh water streams join it downstream, including the Amarnath nullah, Sonamarg nullah and Shutkuri nullah, giving it a shape of a big river.
In June 2011, the high court had directed the authorities to remove all illegal encroachments and structures along the Sindh that had come up in violation of the Kashmir Valley Embankment Act, 1992.
Later in September 2011, Ganderbal Deputy Commissioner in his compliance report to the court had submitted that “all illegal encroachments and illegal constructions along the banks of the Sindh” in the Sonamarg and Kangan areas of Ganderbal district had been “demolished.”CommentQuote0Flag
- Land allotment in gulmarg
33 out of 49 hotel, hut owners occupy more than their share
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, May 20
The land at Gulmarg has been up for grabs for years, with many of the existing lease holders, including hotels and hut owners, having occupied more land than allotted to them by the government. Ironically, the lease hold rights granted by Maharaja Hari Singh to first Prime Minister of J&K Ram Chander Kak continue to exist.
The preliminary report about the ongoing measurement of the land under the lease holders at Gulmarg has revealed that out of 49 hotel and hut owners surveyed by the revenue officials so far, 33 have occupied the state land in excess than allotted to them by the government.
It has also been revealed that many of the existing hotels stand on the land, where the leasehold rights have already expired. A total of 84 persons have been granted land lease rights at Gulmarg by the authorities from time to time.
Official documents have revealed striking facts about the land leases and the actual quantum of land in possession of various stake holders in Gulmarg.
As revealed in the documents, one lease holder namely Mohammad Afzal Khanday, hailing from Sopore, has occupied 3 kanals and 15 marlas at Gulmarg for hotel ‘Alpine’ as against the allotted 2 kanals and 13 marlas.
The lease hold rights of former Chief Justice Shadi Lal, who had been leased 4 kanals at Gulmarg in 1920 by Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh has expired. However, the lease rights continue to be possessed by three persons namely Kishan Amla, Amit Amla and Arjun Amla.
The ongoing measurement by the revenue officials has revealed that the possessors have currently occupied 10 kanals as against the allotted 4, the documents reveal.
The lease hold rights of the first Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who had been granted lease rights of 4 kanals and 1 marla at Gulmarg by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1942 continue to be live, with one Asif Burza currently possessing the lease rights. Though the original lease period initially in this case was for 40 years, it was extended for another 40 years vide a government order in 1978.
In another case, the original lease holders, Hari Nanda Raina/Bansi Lal Raina, whose lease is currently possessed by one Manzoor Ahmad Burza and two other persons, were granted lease hold rights for 12 kanals, but the current possessors have occupied 17 kanals, reveal the documents. In this case, the lease hold rights have already expired and no extension has been granted.
The documents also reveal that Benji Nedous, a close relative of former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, was granted lease hold rights of 60 kanals for 40 years from 1965. However, after the expiry of the lease period, the land in question was ‘regularised in favour of Benji Nedous’ by the government in 1980.
In another case, the lease hold rights of Hari Nedous and Begum Salima Nedous over 2 kanals and 13 marlas were extended for 90 years by the government in 1981.
Lease holder MS Ali Shah, represented by his partner, Mohammad Sidiq of Nigeen, Srinagar, originally holds the lease rights over 1 kanal and 19 marlas at Gulmarg for their hotel, Vintage, but the latest measurement survey has revealed that they have occupied 2 kanals.
Likewise, Haji Ahmad Shahdad having lease hold rights of 1 kanal and 18 marlas has occupied 2 kanals and 2 marlas for hotel ‘Welcome’ at Gulmarg.
Those whose lease has expired include Janki Nath, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and Mohammad Yasin Mir, who had been granted lease for 15 kanals and 18 marlas at Gulmarg, reveal the documents.
It is also being claimed by the officials of the Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) that the original record of about 84 lease holders was gutted in a fire incident in 1980s. After nearly 33 years, the GDA has now issued public notices through the media to all lease holders to submit their leases for reconstruction of the records.
Why the measurement survey
The current measurement survey of land at Gulmarg is being carried out by the revenue officials on the instructions of the J-K High Court, which on a previous hearing had directed the government to submit a report by or before May 15 regarding demarcation of land at the famous tourist resort.
The court is hearing a public interest litigation filed by Mohammad Rafiq Zargar, wherein he had sought intervention of the High Court in safeguarding the eco-sensitive areas of Gulmarg and Tangmarg from illegal constructions.
The High Court had said the report should indicate whether any of the lease holders was in possession of the land in excess of the land shown to have been leased out to him or her in the lease deed.
Observing that “striking facts” have been brought on record regarding leases in Gulmarg, the High Court on May 15 directed the Chief Secretary to take action within two weeks after a sub-committee constituted by the government submits its report about the lease holders and land in their possession at Gulmarg.CommentQuote0Flag
- Hassle-free travel on Jammu-Udhampur highway from early next year
Jammu, May 22
Motorists will have a smooth and hassle-free ride on the 65-km long Jammu-Udhampur highway from early next year as the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is likely to complete the road widening work before its deadline of June, 2014.
Sources said despite the delay in acquisition of land, the executing agency had completed 55 per cent of the work on the highway till May 15 and it was expected that the project would be completed before the deadline.
Widening of the road is part of the NHAI’s prestigious project of four-laning the 286-km long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and the deadline for the project, estimated to cost Rs 10,600 crore, is May 2016 (five years since commencement of work).
Sources said the acquisition of private land at Jajjar Kotli and Jakheni remained a major bottleneck in the execution of the project so far.
“All issues with local residents have been sorted out and the work is in full swing despite technical glitches. And, if all goes well, the four-lane Jammu-Udhampur highway will be opened for traffic well before its deadline,” sources said, adding that over Rs 1,800 crore was estimated to be spent on four-laning the highway.
Sources said the four-laning of the highway would reduce the travel time between the two towns to near half of the present. “At least 54 small and major bridges are being constructed on the road. This stretch also holds significance as Northern Command headquarters is located in Udhampur,” sources added.
Project Director, NHAI Jammu, R P Singh said they had completed 55 per cent work on the Jammu-Udhampur highway.
“We have completed 42 per cent work in the country’s longest tunnel between Chenani and Nashri and the entire project (from Jammu to Srinagar) is being executed as per the plans,” the project director said.
He, however, said the work on four-laning of Ramban-Banihal was yet to be awarded to any agency owing to some technical problems.
The NHAI has divided the Jammu-Srinagar highway four-laning project into six sub-projects, which include widening of the Jammu-Udhampur road (65 km), construction of Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km) and Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km).
The four-laning of the highway would reduce the distance between the two capital cities by approximately 50 km. The reduction would take place mainly due to tunnels. The present 9 to 10 hours travel would be covered in just 4 to 5 hours on the highway.CommentQuote0Flag
- HUDCO to finance SDA housing, commercial projects
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, May 28
To fast-track developmental projects in housing and commercial sectors, Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) will seek funding from subsidiary of Government of India, Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) to meet the growing demand for such facilities in Srinagar city.
This was decided at a high-level joint meeting of SDA and HUDCO officials held here today under the chairmanship of SDA vice-chairman Mohammad Shafi Rather.
HUDCO was represented by executive director (Finance), PK Aggarwal and regional chief Harjit Kumar at the meeting.
“It was decided in the meeting that given the mounting demand for apartment-type housing and in view of the escalating land costs in Srinagar city, the SDA would seek loaning facility from the HUDCO for speedy construction of around 500 proposed flats - Shehjar Apartments - at Bemina.
Besides assuring adequate loaning facility, the HUDCO also offered technical assistance to the SDA for formulating the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the ambitious project,” a SDA spokesman said.
These flats will be in addition to the 60 apartments to be constructed by the SDA near the existing Gulposh Apartments for which DPRs have already been finalised and submitted to the government for approval.
The spokesman said the HUDCO had also agreed to provide funding for acquisition of land for the development of Integrated Commercial Centre (ICC) at Railhead, Nowgam.
“The proposed commercial centre housing hotels, motels, restaurants, shopping plazas, office spaces, multi-level parking and recreational facilities would be spread over 1,500 kanals of land already notified by the government for the purpose,” he said.
Another key project to be taken up for execution by the SDA with HUDCO funding is the construction of office-cum-convention complex at MA Road near the existing Sangarmaal city centre. Besides, having exclusive office spaces, the complex will be provided with state-of-the-art conference hall for holding conferences, seminars and media interactions. This will be an exclusive facility in the area as presently only SKICC can host such events.
“HUDCO officials assured that loaning facility, to be extended by the corporation, would be at the most competitive interest rates with the provision of long term financing and easy repayments. They also offered rebate in interest rate for housing projects for economically weaker sections,” he added.CommentQuote0Flag
- Encroachers reoccupy over 1,700 kanals of JDA land
Jammu, May 29
Barely a few months after the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) claimed to have recovered 1,721 kanal from encroachers at Sidhra and others parts of the city, the land has once again been occupied by encroachers allegedly in connivance with senior ministers and politicians.
Due to political pressure, the administration has been forced to go slow in its drive to retrieve its land assets from encroachment.
A senior official said the anti-encroachment drive had become a lost battle, as pressure was being exerted not to evict people and all action meets great resistance. The JDA was created in 1971, under the J&K Development Act and controls vacant ‘Nazool’ land within 13-km radius of the city.
Hundreds of kanals of land worth crores of rupees transferred to the authority by the government is under illegal occupation of Gujjars and people who have migrated from other districts of the state, particularly from Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban and some areas of Kashmir Valley.
At many places like Majheen, Raghura and Upper Sidhra, people who had received the land compensation from the government have not only constructed concrete houses themselves but also sold over 3,000 Kanals to the prospective buyers, mostly from Kashmir.
“Encroachment has taken place in a planned manner under the very nose of the Forest Department and the officials of the Jammu Development Authority (JDA), the two major bodies which have significant portion of land under their disposal. Those who have been evicted are again occupying it,” said a source.
JDA Vice-Chairman, Satish Nehru said, “There are incidents of re-occupation of land, but these are isolated cases. We are once again going to launch an anti-encroachment drive.”
However, he refused to comment on the alleged political pressure being exerted to stop any action. “All the encroachments will be cleared in a phased manner,” Nehru said.
Most attempts of eviction have witnessed violent protests during the anti-encroachment drive with the occupants clashing with the police and the JDA officials. Sidhra area falls within the city municipal limits.
Despite the fact that encroachments and illegal constructions go unabated on forest land in Sidhra, the Forest Department does not have any data on the land encroached.CommentQuote0Flag
- Industrialists want Jammu to be part of Amritsar-Kolkata corridor project
Jammu, June 10
Industrialists in the state are feeling let down by the Centre’s announcement of establishing the Amritsar-Delhi-Kolkata industrial corridor, which is expected to be one of the biggest projects in the direction of economic development and employment generation in North India.
The southern part of the state, which has a major concentration of industries, falls just 219 km from the starting point of the grand project, Amritsar, but it does not find any mention in the proposed corridor.
Though the inter-ministerial group are yet to study the feasibility and investment avenues for the project, industrialists say the state government should take up the issue with the Union government.
The proposed corridor will cover the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ambala, Saharanpur, Delhi, Roorkee, Moradabad, Bareilly, Aligarh, Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Asansol, Durgapur and Kolkata will be under the project’s ambit.
“The state should take up the issue with the Central government as the proposed corridor, if extended to Jammu, will boost the manufacturing sector, generating employment for thousands of people. We hope when the final report is submitted, the state is included,” said Annil Suri, president, Bari Brahmana Industrial Association.
Suri said industrial estates were facing infrastructural problems such as bad roads, disrupted power supply and lack of investment and that the corridor project could give them a breather.
The state had introduced a new industrial policy, 2004, but because of infrastructural deficiencies and power shortage, not many jobs were created. Ruined by armed insurgency since 1989, the state gave several concessions to entrepreneurs and industrialists to set up manufacturing units but not much has been achieved. There are 47 industrial estates in the state comprising 37,143 industrial units.
“The state needs investment and keeping in view the surface transport facilities and proximity to major cities in the north, Jammu deserves inclusion in the proposed corridor. If included, the manufacturing units will get a new lease of life,” said YV Sharma, president, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jammu.
The contribution of the registered manufacturing sector of the industry to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) from 2007-08 to 2011-12 ranged between Rs 1,141 crore and Rs 1,690 crore. However, the contribution of the registered manufacturing sector of the industry in the GSDP has been declining in the recent years despite fiscal concessions to the new industrial units.
Even the Comptroller and Auditor General report maintains that the quantity and quality of manufacturing output was not commensurate with the fiscal burden of Rs 8,340 crore during 2007-12 on the Central and state exchequer.
STATES UNDER PLAN’S AMBIT
The corridor will cover Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The southern part of Jammu and Kashmir, which has a major concentration of industries, is just 219 km from the starting point of the project, Amritsar, but it does not find any mention in the proposed corridorCommentQuote0Flag
- State industrial package extended for five years
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 14
The Centre today announced extension of the special package for industrial development in Jammu and Kashmir for a further period of five years. The step aims at maintaining the enabling environment for the ongoing industrial development in the state.
The extended run of the package, with an outlay of Rs 295 crore, will be till June 14, 2017. The announcement has come one year after the initial package, which ran for 10 years, ended in June 2012.
Under the old package, a subsidy of Rs 158.45 crore was provided till the end of financial year2012-13. A total of 9,305 new units were set up in the state with a total investment of Rs 3183.48 crore. These generated employment for 1,11,397 persons in the state. The earlier package included 15 per cent capital investment subsidy on the investment in plants and machinery, subject to a ceiling of Rs 30 lakh.
However, the MSMEs would be eligible for 30 per cent capital investment subsidy on investment in plant and machinery, subject to a ceiling of Rs 3 crore and Rs 1.5 crore for manufacturing and service sectors, respectively, to all new and existing industrial units on their substantial expansion.
It also provided 3 per cent interest subsidy on the average of daily working capital loan to all new units for a period of 5 years from the date of commencement of commercial production, a central comprehensive insurance subsidy scheme with 100 per cent reimbursement of premium to all new and existing units on their substantial expansion for a period of 5 years from the date of commencement of commercial production.
The benefits, the government said, could be availed of by the units set up in notified industrial parks and estates.
The list of “thrust industries” (which can be set up anywhere in the state) eligible for the subsidy under the package has also been expanded to include flour mills, rice mills, spice grinding, pasteurisation/processing of milk and other dairy product, mushroom culture, compost making, dairy farming packaging, bottling of mineral water, stationery items and wood-based industry.
The scheme will be implemented through the state government and the funds will be disbursed through the JKDFC, a nodal agency. All new units in the notified areas in the state, excluding the negative list and all new units of thrust industry outside notified areas, will be eligible for subsidy under the package for a period of 5 years.
-The extension, to be effective up to June 14, 2017, has an outlay of Rs 295 crore
-The aim is to provide continuity and to maintain the enabling environment for ongoing industrial development of the state
-The term of the original 10-year package ended in June 2012
-Under the old package, a subsidy of `158.45 crore was provided till the end of financial year 2012-13
-A total of 9,305 new units were set up in the state with a total investment of Rs 3183.48 crore which generated employment for 1,11,397 personsCommentQuote0Flag
- Jehangir Chowk-Natipora flyover hits roadblock, acquisition of land stayed
BSNL challenges the notification in the HC regarding acquiring of its land at Rambagh
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, June 30
In another setback to the Jehangir Chowk-Natipora flyover project, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has stayed an order regarding dispossession of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) of its land at Rambagh in Srinagar.
The court has also issued notices to the government and other respondents.
The land, measuring 8.11 kanals, was being used by the government to rehabilitate shopkeepers affected by the proposed Jehangir Chowk-Natipora flyover project.
The work on the much delayed Rs 350 crore flyover began earlier this month, which is being executed by the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA).
The government had issued a notification in 2010 for acquisition of the land belonging to BSNL at Rambagh in Srinagar under the Land Acquisition Act. The land was being acquired to construct a shopping complex for rehabilitating the shopkeepers affected by the flyover project.
However, the BSNL decided to challenge the notification by filing a writ petition before the high court. As an interim relief, the BSNL had sought that it should not be disposed of the land in question and prayed for the stay.
However, while admitting the petition, a single bench of the high court had dismissed the miscellaneous application without granting any interim relief, as was sought by the BSNL.
Subsequently, the BSNL authorities chose to file an appeal against the dismissal of an interim application before a division bench, which has now stayed the government order dispossessing the BSNL of its land at Rambagh.
The Bench, comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, which admitted the BSNL appeal on Saturday, also issued notice to the government and other authorities directing them to file their objections by next hearing.
The Jehangir-Chowk Natipora flyover project, which had already been way behind its schedule, was announced in July 2009, and was to be completed in three years. However, since then it has hit many roadblocks and numerous litigations are pending before various courts in Srinagar, including many filed by traders and shopkeepers affected by the project.CommentQuote0Flag
- Despite ban, Patnitop tourist resort strewn with plastic waste
Tribune News Service
Patnitop, July 1
Though the state government has imposed a ban on the use of plastic bags in the picturesque Patnitop valley, plastic waste such as disposable plates, glasses and wrappers litters the tourist resort. Foul smell emanates from the waste and the disposable items also pose a severe threat to the ecology of the valley, visited by hundreds of tourists every year.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Patnitop Development Authority, Raman Kesar said due to the shortage of field staff, littered plastic waste was not cleared from the valley during the peak time. “We have disengaged some labourers taking care of the cleanliness of the valley due to some dispute. So the waste is spread in some portions”, he said but asserted that authorities had been strictly implementing the ban on plastic here.
He said most of the time the field staff cleared the waste the very next day but during the peak season, there were problems in clearing the waste.
Other than imposing a ban on the use of plastic, the authorities have done nothing to strictly implement this ban. The tourists were seen entering the tourist resort carrying polythene bags and throwing disposable items in the open, flouting rules and regulations.
Kesar, however, said tourists were themselves responsible for the degradation of ecology in the region. “We have installed a number of dustbins but instead of using these, tourists throw waste in the open”, he said. He added that the authorities had decided to create awareness among tourists after repeated intervals so as to protect the ecology.
On December 3, 2003, the state government had banned the use of polythene bags and plastic at the Patnitop hill resort, in a bid to check environment pollution in this tourist resort.
The then District Magistrate, Udhampur, had ordered restrictions on carrying and use of polythene bags for any purpose in Patnitop area with immediate effect.CommentQuote0Flag