J&K has more than 16 lakh kanals of state land encroached upon but the Revenue Ministry lacks details of the politicians, civil and police officials against whom the encroachment cases are pending disposal in judicial and revenue courts.

Since Revenue Minister Ram Bhalla had bunked the assembly, apparently because of the arrival of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Speaker M Akbar Lone ruled that the issue will be taken up later when state will have the requisite information.

In response to a question of PDP lawmaker Choudhary Zulfikar Ali, the state government revealed that J&K has 16 lakh and 532 marlas of land under the illegal occupation. Rajouri tops the list of encroached land where 392155.79 kanals of state land is under illegal occupation. In Srinagar there are 42977 kanals of state land occupied illegally while as in Jammu tehsil, more than 27018.16 kanals of state has been occupied.

The encroachers are now asking for the ownership rights of the land under the Roshi Act which is in vogue. Although the government claimed to have already started the eviction proceedings against the illegal occupants, but lawmakers, most from the opposition parties, stated that the illegal occupants enjoy the government’s patronage. They were vociferous in seeking details of the land that is occupied by the police officers and the bureaucrats, especially in case they have taken the disputes to the court.

The government revealed that with the inception of J&K State Lands Act, almost all the occupants have applied for seeking ownership of the encroached land. The applications, government stated, regarding the ownership of the occupied land have been rejected or the occupants have not been found fulfilling the prescribed conditions. But the response did not satisfy the opposition benches who sought more detailed and specific responses on the queries they were making.

State land has been occupied across the state but the issue is more chronic in the Jammu outskirt that has vast swathes of state and forest land. Sources said a large chunk of the state land occupied by some top politicians, civil and police officials has already been sold. In certain cases involving some of the top influential families, the cases have landed in the courts.

The issue of transferring the ownership rights of land in J&K has been a very serious and sensitive issue over the decades and questions have already been raised about the land which is under legal or illegal use of the Army and other central forces.

The issue of the occupied lands is now being taken up later and the Speaker has assured that the lawmakers will get every detail they seek.


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