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Now, outsiders can buy land in Jammu and Kashmir

An elderly man walks though a garden lined with dried leaves of Chinar trees in Srinagar on October 27, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

People as well as investors outside Jammu and Kashmir can now purchase land in the Union Territory (UT) as the Centre on Tuesday notified new land laws for the region, ending the exclusive rights of locals over the land granted under now abrogated Article 370.

Under the newly introduced J&K Development Act, the term “being permanent resident of the State” as a criteria has been “omitted”, paving the way for investors outside J&K to invest in the UT.

Now, outsiders can buy land in Jammu and Kashmir

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The Centre has been arguing that Article 370 hampered development in the U.T. as investors were unable to purchase land prior to August 5, 2019.

Laws for Ladakh soon

The Centre is likely to notify separate land laws for the UT of Ladakh soon.

“We want that like other parts of India, industries should be set up in J&K. My government is committed to peace, progress and prosperity”, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said.

Under the ‘transfer of land for the purpose of promotion of healthcare or education’, the government may now allow transfer of land “in favour of a person or an institution for the purpose of promotion of healthcare or senior secondary or higher or specialized education in J&K”.

According to amendments made to “The Jammu & Kashmir Land Revenue Act, Samvat, 1996”, only agriculturists of J&K can purchase agricultural land. “No sale, gift, exchange, or mortgage of the land shall be valid in favour of a person who is not an agriculturist,” it reads.

Fact check | What is true and what isn’t on J&K, Article 370

The Restriction on Conversion of Agricultural Land and Process for Permission of Non-Agriculture clause, however, puts conditions on the use of agricultural land. “No land used for agriculture purposes shall be used for any non-agricultural purposes except with the permission of the district collector”, it reads.

Under a new provision, an Army officer not below the rank of Corps Commander can declare an area as “Strategic Area” within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of the armed forces.

The introduction of the UT of J&K Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020 by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has resulted in the repeal of at least 11 land laws in vogue in J&K earlier, including the J&K Big Landed Estates Abolition Act that had resulted in famous ‘Land to tiller’ rights.

Also read | Is Jammu and Kashmir underdeveloped as stated by Amit Shah?

NC, PDP oppose move

Political parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opposed the move.

“The amendments have put J&K up for sale. With these new laws in place, tokenism of the domicile certificate has been done away with, as purchasing non-agricultural land has been made easier. These new laws are unacceptable to people of J&K”, NC vice president Omar Abdullah said.

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PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, “Yet another step that’s part of nefarious designs to disempower and disenfranchise people of J&K. From the unconstitutional scrapping of Article 370 to facilitating loot of our natural resources and finally putting land in J&K up for sale. Such brazen measures reinforce the need of people of all three provinces of J&K to fight unitedly”.

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The article earlier mentioned that the land laws of Ladakh had also been amended. But the Centre has amended only J&K land laws. The error is regretted.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 10:55:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/now-outsiders-can-buy-land-in-jammu-and-kashmir/article32952629.ece

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