The J&K Government Tuesday said that it “won’t allow” any establishment of “Sainik Colony” in the valley.
Minister for Education and Government spokesperson, Naeem Akhtar, denied allotment of any land in Kashmir or anywhere else for residential colonies for ex-armed forces personnel.
“Like some other sections of the working class and professionals, the ex-servicemen belonging to the State have been demanding land for a housing colony, but no allotment of land for any such project has been made anywhere in the Valley,” the J&K government spokesperson claimed.
Stating that any attempt at “creating doubt” on a non-existent issue is “against the interests of the people of the state”, Akhtar urged the stakeholders including the civil society representatives to “be cautious of the designs of such elements”.
Akhtar asserted, “such unsettling efforts seem to be completely out of place at a time when consensus is building across the political divide in the country over safeguarding, protecting and upholding the special status guaranteed to Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian Constitution.”
“The idea was floated during Omar-led government and present regime has rejected this controversial proposal,” he added.
Akthar said the proposal to create “Sainik Colony” in Kashmir was “initiated by the Omar-led government”. “There is no land available in the state and the government has clearly rejected the proposal,” he said.
Notably, former CM Omar Abdullah had alleged that the proposal of establishing “Sainik Colony” in Kashmir was a “ploy to settle non-state subjects” in J&K. Responding which, his successor, CM Mehbooba Mufti on May 09, 2016 asked Omar “not to repeat his mistake today”.
“The process to establish Sainik Colony in the state was initiated during a meeting of Rajya Sainik Board headed by Governor and attended by the then Chief and vice-president of the Board, CM Omar Abdullah,” he informed.
Omar, on Monday, had dared CM Mehbooba to file an FIR if had stated wrong viz-a-viz “Sainik Colony”.
Naeem said that later several meetings were held on the matter and then CM Omar Abdullah “had never objected” for its creation.
“The entire process aimed at establishing the Sainik Colony started with the conduct of 73rd meeting of J&K Rajya Sainik Board on 1 March 2011,” he said, “the Board works for safeguarding the interests of retired forces personnel.”
“In that meeting which was attended by the Governor and the then Chief Minister, a request was put forward for establishing a Sainik Colony on the pattern of Jammu Sainik Colony,” he said while referring to the official documents.
The minister said, “in 74th board meeting held on 02 March 2012, requirement of 150 Kanals of land was forwarded to be approved and it was suggested that appropriate bylaws be made in this regard. On 09 April 2013, 75th Board meeting of J&K Rajya Sainik Board was held, wherein five locations, including Zakoora, Bemina, Old Airport Etc, were identified for the establishment of the colony. The meeting was attended by the Governor, Chief Minister whose designation was made as First Vice-President in this meeting, Second Vice-President Lt Gen Sachdeva from Northern Command and other officials,” he said.
Akhtar added, “in 76th meeting held on 21 April 2014, it was revealed that Divisional Commissioner had agreed on land allotment at old Airfield site and the required documentation was under process for acquisition of said land for establishment of Sainik Colony. In this meeting, Chief Minister was not present but Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary of that time were present in the meeting.”
“Similarly, in 77th Board meeting held on 16 April 2015, Divisional Commissioner had agreed to transfer 173 kanals of land at old Airfield, as approved in previous meeting. However, the number of aspirants from retired forced personnel had increased considerably by this time which required a land of 350 Kanals. The meeting was attended by Governor, the then Chief Secretary and other officials,” he said, adding that in 78th meeting held on 21 April 2016, the government categorically told the meeting that “no land is available for establishment of the Sainik Colony”. “Through official records, it is clear that Omar Abdullah attended the meeting and was very keen to see the creation of these colonies.”
“Omar Abdullah attended all meetings and never spoke a word in its opposition. It was during his tenure as CM that land for these colonies was identified. If creation of Sainik Colony seems wrong to him now, was it right when he was at the helm of affairs,” he said.