SRINAGAR: Land acquisition by the government for various developmental activities is a regular and uninterrupted process. It continued after August 5, 2019, when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was binned and the erstwhile state was bifurcated into two federally governed Union Territories.
But how much land was acquired by the government? There were two questions in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2022. One question was asked by Elamaram Kareem and another by Rajmani Patel.
CPI lawmaker Elamaram Kareem want to know how much State land in Jammu and Kashmir (Khalisa Sarkar, Kahchrie, Shamilat, Forest Land) was acquired by Government during the fiscal year 2019-2020, 2020-21 and up to June 2022, and the purpose for which the land was acquired. He wanted the details on a district-wide basis. He also wanted to know how much land under Roshni Act 2001 was transferred to individuals, institutions, prospective entrepreneurs, and promoters, and sought details of that. Besides, he wanted to know the status of land allotted to the beneficiaries under this Act after the J&K High Court declared this Act as unconstitutional?
Nityanand Rai, the MoS Home responded to the question. “As per the information provided by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, State land (including Khalsa Sarkar, Kahchrie, Shamilat, etc) measuring 2359.45 hectares has been acquired by the government for various public purposes such as roads, including National Highways, railways, schools/colleges, playgrounds, parks, buildings, soil waste management, border fencing/border outposts, industrial estates etc.” One hectare of land is equal to almost 20 kanals.
The response had the following table offering details of the land acquisitions across the Jammu and Kashmir districts for two years and the current fiscal.
On the Roshni land, Rai said that the state land measuring 8565.40 hectares was transferred under Roshni Act 2001 to individuals, institutions and entrepreneurs. In compliance with the judgment dated 09.10.2020, of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and Divisional Commissioner Jammu have uploaded the details of beneficiaries/encroachers on their official websites. The mutations attested in favour of beneficiaries under the said Act have been cancelled and entries in the revenue record have been expunged. Land measuring 1363.95 hectares has been retrieved. More than 70 review petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court and High Court. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has also filed a review petition in the High
Court of J&K against the said order and the matter is sub-judice.
Congress lawmaker Rajmani Patel had a similar question. He wanted to know the details of land acquired by the Central Government in Kashmir, from August 2019, the legal framework under which these acquisitions took place and the compensation provided for the same. Besides, he wanted to know the details of the criteria to determine the compensation for such land acquisitions and the average time taken to provide the same in full; and the details of pending compensation, district-wise and year-wise from August 2019 to date?
Rai answered this question as well. “As per the information provided by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, land measuring 331.90 hectares has been acquired by the Central Government or its agencies for various projects like national highways etc. in Kashmir from August 2019 till 13/7/2022.”
Explaining the legal framework, it said: “In terms of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, the Central Acts regarding Land Acquisition i.e., National Highway Act, 1956 and Right to Fair Compensation Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 have been made applicable to the Union territory of J&K. The acquisitions undertaken and the compensations provided are under the legal framework of these Acts, which also prescribe the criteria to determine the compensation and the timelines for the steps involved in the process. The compensation in full is provided as per the time-lines provided therein.”
The response put the district-wise and year-wise details of pending compensation since August 2019 in a table:
(Photograph used in this report lacks any direct relevance to the details)