Jammu traders for “riders” on land purchase, investments by outsiders

Removal of special status should not make it a hub of only “sale and purchase,” says trade body chief

October 05, 2019 10:26 pm | Updated 10:57 pm IST - Vijaita Singh

Vehicles ply on roads on the 62nd day of shutdown in Srinagar on Saturday, October 5, 2019.

Vehicles ply on roads on the 62nd day of shutdown in Srinagar on Saturday, October 5, 2019.

The Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has demanded “riders” on purchase of land and investments by outsiders in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the revocation of special status to the State under Article 370.

Its president Rakesh Gupta told The Hindu that J&K does not have huge chunks of land to offer and the removal of special status should not make it a hub of only “sale and purchase.”

Mr. Gupta led a delegation of traders that met Governor Satyapal Malik and several State officials.

“One suggestion we gave to the government is that if someone is serious to settle down here and do business, there has to be some sort of a rider like the neighbouring State of Himachal... if that is not the case then the prices [of land] will go up and the common man will not be able to afford to buy land here... at the same time there is not a huge chunk of land to be offered because laws are such that you cannot build houses, factories on agricultural land, there is some land that belongs to the State,” he said.

The delegation wanted riders if a person wants to settle down in J&K. “Registration of property should be done only after the person who has come from outside has spent certain years here. In Himachal, you [people outside the State] can buy a flat but not land, there is a certain time period,” Mr. Gupta noted.

The president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce Sheikh Ashiq Ahmed could not be contacted.

Arrest of business leaders

Prominent business leaders of the Kashmir Valley were arrested in the run-up to August 5 when Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved two Bills in the Rajya Sabha to revoke the special status to the State under Article 370 and bifurcate it into Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

Mubeen Shah, ex-president of the Kashmir Chamber, and Mohammed Yasin Khan, chairman of the Kashmir Economic Alliance, were arrested and are currently lodged in Uttar Pradesh jails.

J&K Director General of Police Dilbag Singh had said in an interview that they were taken into preventive custody as “in the past they had aligned with elements like Hurriyat and participated in activities not very conducive to maintenance of peace and order.”

The much-hyped J&K Investor Summit that was to be held in November has been postponed to 2020.

Mr. Gupta said he didn't expect “massive investment” in J&K, as earlier also incentives had been given to investors and they could take the land on lease from the Industries Department.

“Investor summit has been postponed... the government has to do a lot of homework. When the investor comes, he has to be assured of land availability and single- window clearance has to be in place and it is not available now as claimed by the government,” he said.

‘Willing to cooperate with Govt.’

Internet, he pointed out, is a lifeline. But in view of national security, they were willing to cooperate with the government, he said.

“Look at the situation along the border, there is heavy firing.....we, as citizens, are worried that it may escalate into a war between India and Pakistan. Once the Internet is resumed, it might lead to provocation by Pakistan,” he observed.

Mobile phone connectivity and Internet services remain snapped for more than 60 days in the Valley and only landlines are functioning. Mobile Internet has been snapped in the Jammu region but broadband Internet services and mobile phone calling services are available.

He said the steep rise in one-time tax on purchase of new vehicles by the J&K administration, announced in August, had led to 80% decline in sales in the automobile sector.

“It was raised to 9% from the existing 1.77% tax. We did not expect to be penalised with such heavy taxes when the State is in transition to become a UT. Automobile sales are down and this is in addition to the overall slowdown, and thousands of skilled jobs are threatened,” he added.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.