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RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

Last updated: May 18 2017
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  • #11

    #11

    Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

    Exhausting agricultural land threatening food security in state

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, December 29

    The economy of Jammu and Kashmir is predominantly agriculture based, where more than seventy per cent population is directly or indirectly associated with agriculture and its allied sectors. However, over the years, a disturbing trend has been witnessed, which continued to grip the state during 2012.

    The conversion of prime agricultural land for construction and other commercial activities is threatening the food security here. This is particularly true in the Kashmir region, where prosperity is giving way to urbanisation.

    It was this trend which was highlighted in the Economic Survey Report 2011-12 tabled by the J&K Government in the Assembly during the Budget Session in March.

    The survey while pointing out the figures related to the shrinking of the agricultural land had recommended huge investments in the agriculture sector for ensuring food security in the state.

    “Regardless of its importance to growth, income, food and nutritional security, the sector is witnessing a gradual slump in its contribution to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). The estimated percentage contribution of the agriculture sector and its allied sectors is likely to be 19.41 per cent in 2010-11 as against the corresponding share of 28.06 per cent registered in 2004-05,” the report states.

    Needles to say, agriculture has held a crucial place in the economy and culture of the state, where about 75 per cent of the population resides in the rural areas and is directly or indirectly linked with this sector for livelihood.

    Though the government has also expressed its concern over the diminishing agricultural holdings and the conversion of land for construction and other purposes, so far the efforts for checking this trend have failed.

    In fact, several attempts were made by legislators to pass a bill but neither the PDP nor the ruling National Conference has been able to bring out a legislation in their tenures banning the conversion of agricultural land in the state. Concerns in this regard compelled the J-K High Court to direct state government on December 18 to make plans to cater to the increasing demand for residential places in Srinagar.

    The double Bench of the high court, which passed the orders, observed that limited available space for residential purposes resulted in illegal activities like conversion of agriculture lands.

    Nevertheless, officials of the Agriculture Department of the state hope to register a growth in the production of saffron in south Kashmir this year. Officials say in 2012, the production of the saffron has been around 10 metric tones compared to 9.5 metric tonnes last year.

    The higher yield has been possible by providing better inputs and high quality seeds to saffron farmers of Kashmir. Besides, under the Centrally-sponsored ‘National Saffron Mission’, more areas are being brought under saffron cultivation in the region.

    The horticulture sector of the state, which mostly includes the and the dry fruit industry, is on a path to revival with farmers taking recourse to technical aids and high density plantation.

    More and more agricultural lands meant for paddy cultivation are now being brought under the cultivation.

    The prime reasons for farmers shunning paddy cultivation and taking up growing and harvesting are better returns in terms of high yield and financial support to families in rural areas.
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    • #12

      #12

      Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

      Rampant encroachments, land grabbing cut green wealth to half

      Tribune News Service

      Srinagar, December 30

      The state is losing its green sheen fast as the forest land has shrunk from 20,230 sq km to just 7,590 sq km as per data furnished by the state Department of Forests earlier this year.

      The single largest reason responsible for the depletion of green cover has been attributed to illegal human encroachments, which have consumed approximately 13,360 sq km of forest land as per official statistics.

      In the wake of mounting public pressure on the state Forest Department for its failure to curb the forest encroachments, the department made some significant disclosures in November regarding involvement of a senior state cabinet minister in the illegal forest land grab case in Sedow village of South Kashmir’s Shopian district, which has proved embarrassing for the state coalition government.

      The State Accountability Commission even slapped a notice on the minister accusing him of making false claims of the Commission having absolved him of charges.

      In the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region, the village heads (sarpanches) came out making scathing attacks on the state government for failing to catch hold of “land mafia” (forest land grabbers) and accused the department of shielding them.

      Villagers said human intervention in the state’s ecologically sensitive zones for either constructing residential/commercial properties, plundering the premium wood species or its use for agricultural purposes has gone unabated over the past few years, gradually depleting the forest cover.

      Despite the state government introducing its maiden State Forest Policy in 2010 to regulate the human pressures on the forest cover of the state, increasing cases of illegal encroachments by locals and even senior cabinet ministers surfaced in the year 2012, prompting the State Legislative Assembly to appoint a Departmental Standing Committee of State Legislative Council investigating into such cases.

      In order to ascertain loopholes in various afforestation programmes undertaken by the state government over the past two decades, the state government even roped in Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which has been entrusted with the responsibility of “satellite mapping” of the green cover in the state.

      The first-of-its-kind ISRO Survey in the state will also enable the state to assess the density of crops, types and availability of non-timber forest produce and medicinal plants in different areas of the state besides training the Forest Department officials to prevent forest fires that cause sizeable destruction to forests during summers.

      The Forest Department officials said the removal of encroached forests, illegal structures and afforestation drives were carried out in full swing with 217 acres of forest land in Jammu division alone having been cleared of encroachments and 3.97 lakh plants were planted in over 500 hectares of degraded forest land in Billawar, Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur and Ramanagar forest regions of Jammu.

      Not only did humans intervene into the natural habitat of wild animals, even the wild animals did the same.

      Rising cases of man-animal conflict in the Valley, particularly with leopards, and bears caused death of nearly 50 people and injured over 300, especially children and old people.

      Experts have urged the state government to constitute a man-animal conflict policy that provides measures for keeping the wild animals away from the human populated areas. Even the State Legislative Assembly stepped in to impress upon the authorities in preserving the natural habitat of wild animals so that they do not attack humans.

      Man-animal conflict in Kashmir, as per Chief Wildlife Warden, AK Singh, has become a political issue leading to law and order problems in the state.
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      • #13

        #13

        Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

        A new luxury project called Paradise Avenue is coming up in Jammu. There are pictures on Facebook. Look for paradise.avenue.jammu

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        • #14

          #14

          Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

          Development activities go for a toss

          Only 35% funds spent under district plans in current fiscal


          Tribune News Service

          Jammu, February 8
          Against the backdrop of government’s claim that “development itself substantiates its commitment and determination exhibited for public empowerment”, the sluggish development activities are discernible to all with the government registering an average 35 per cent capital expenditure under district plan outlays for the current financial year so far.

          While just one-and-a-half month is left for the current fiscal year to end, the ruling dispensation has also failed to review plan meeting involving MLAs and MLCs who questioned the “government’s efficiency” to carry out development works in the state.

          If official sources are to be believed, against total capital outlay of around Rs 1,300 crore, various districts in the state had spent just 35 per cent funds. “Though the utilisation of resources under various components of annual plan outlay for 2012-13 was same in all the three regions viz Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, the administration in various districts has not been able to record an expenditure of 30 per cent against funds allocated to the tune of Rs 240 crore under state schemes,” sources said.

          The sources further said the 10 districts of Kashmir division had utilised 24-26 per cent of the capital component and nearly 46 per cent of the revenue component while the districts of Jammu division had spent only 22-24 per cent and about 44 per cent in the capital and revenue components, respectively.

          Sources said Udhampur district of Jammu division has figured in the bottom of the list of less capital expenditure incurred by any district. “The situation in other districts of Jammu province is also grim under capital component, while Srinagar district has recorded lowest revenue expenditure so far,” they added.

          Harsh Dev Singh, chairman, Panthers Party, and Ramnagar MLA in Udhampur district, said: “The performance of government on development front is very poor. Despite the availability of funds, various plans and schemes have not been implemented on ground. The most unfortunate part is that the government has failed to hold any review meeting to date. These meetings should have been held either in December or January. Leave aside additionalities, which are generally made to selective areas, it has failed to register satisfactory expenditure under the District Plan outlay for current fiscal.”

          Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, MLA, Kulgam, and CPM leader said he was not satisfied about the expenditure made by the government under the district plan so far.

          “It raises a question mark on the government’s efficiency in carrying out development activities in the state. It has become a practice in Jammu and Kashmir that the government releases funds at the fag end to show large expenditure, which is unjustified,” he said.

          Chaman Lal Gupta, MLA, Jammu West, said, “Unfortunately, the government didn’t hold any review plan meeting last year and the situation is no better in the current financial year. The MLAs don’t have any idea about the expenditure and development works undertaken in their Assembly segment. Every year, they show expenditure made for various schemes and plans, but no development is visible on the ground.”

          Ajay Kumar Sadhotra, Minister for Planning Department, said he held a meeting of all the District Development Commissioners (DDCs) of Jammu province to review the progress of development activities today. “I will look into the issue,” he said.

          The government didn’t hold any review plan meeting last year and the situation is no better in the current financial year. The MLAs don’t have any idea about the expenditure and development works undertaken in their Assembly segment.
          — Chaman Lal Gupta, MLA, Jammu West
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          • #15

            #15

            Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

            BJP, NPP to corner govt on border fence compensation to villagers

            Tribune News Service

            Jammu, March 2
            While the Peoples Democratic Party and the ruling National Conference (NC) are all gung-ho about dominating the Assembly proceedings on Monday by taking up Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging, legislators of the BJP, National Panthers Party (NPP), Jammu State Morcha, an Independent legislator and an NC legislator have decided to raise the long-pending issue of border fence compensation to hundreds of villagers living close to the 198-km-long international border.

            Compensation and rental of land in forward areas occupied by the BSF to raise a permanent fence some 20 years ago along the international border still remains a distant dream for hundreds of farmers in Kathua, Samba, RS Pura and Akhnoor.

            “I have moved resolutions and questions on the issue, which is of grave concern. In almost two decades not even a single penny has been given to farmers, whose lands have been occupied for border fencing in my constituency,” said Ashwani Sharma, Jammu State Morcha (JSM) legislator from Bishnah Assembly constituency.

            “Last year after I moved a resolution, the government had promised to conduct a special recruitment drive to absorb youth of border areas to enable them to eke out a living but the promise remains a hoax,” said Sharma.

            “It is a human issue and we would not let it fizzle out because of Afzal Guru. Legislators from Jammu would devise a strategy to corner the government in the budget session,” he said.

            Panthers Party MLA from Samba Yashpal Kundal said, “I have discussed the issue with party chairman Harsh Dev Singh and president Balwant Singh Mankotia. We would stage a sit-in and compel the government to immediately give compensation to the affected farmers,” said Kundal.

            He said the government would be compelled to take the existing fence close to the Zero Line. Kundal said the gates after every half a km on the border for allowing access to agricultural fields on the other side of the fence continue to cause hardships to the people, particularly to women, who have to undergo frisking while carrying food and water for their men.

            Similarly, mines planted during the Indo-Pak stand-off following Parliament attack in 2001 have not been removed completely which continue to cause casualties and injuries to villagers, he said.

            Independent MLA from Kathua Charanjit Singh said the problem persisted for the villagers in his constituency also.

            “We call it the international border but they (Pakistanis) don’t. Hence the scenario along the international border is same like that on the Line of Control. Therefore, reservation benefits should also be given to the people living close to the international border,” said Singh.

            National Conference MLA from Vijaypur Surjit Singh Slathia, who was recently dropped from the Cabinet, said the matter had already been taken up with the administration.

            “Files have been sent to the Jammu Divisional Commissioner and a decision is likely soon. Some of the villagers have got compensation but since it’s a human issue, it will be raised during the budget session,” said Slathia.

            During the budget session in February, 2012, the then Revenue Minister, Raman Bhalla, on the floor of the Lower House, had promised compensation to these farmers within two months.

            The BSF has embarked upon a new exercise to increase the width of the border fence to 135-feet from the existing 60-feet.
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            • #16

              #16

              Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

              Manoj 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

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              • #17

                #17

                Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

                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.
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                • #18

                  #18

                  Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

                  Originally posted by McLordGanj View Post
                  Manoj 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 .
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                  • #19

                    #19

                    Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

                    Constructions on agricultural land go unabated in Anantnag

                    TNS


                    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.
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                    • #20

                      #20

                      Re : RE News Jammu amp Kashmir

                      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
                      next hearing.

                      “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.
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