The J&K government’s flip-flop on farmland

Just 13 months after the J&K government drafted laws to protect farmland in the Union Territory, the Lieutenant Governor’s administration, in an about-face on Thursday, cleared the way for its conversion for use. non-agricultural.

A spokesperson said that the J&K Administrative Council (AC), which met here under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, in a landmark decision, approved the regulations drawn up by the Board of Revenue for the conversion .

“The regulations are necessitated after the legislative changes made to the Land Revenue Act after the reorganization of the former state. They were issued to regulate the uncontrolled conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes on the one hand and to maintain the development aspirations of UT and the people on the other,” the spokesperson said.

Collectors were empowered to authorize land use change. “Powers have been delegated to District Collectors to grant permission for land up to 12½ standard acres against a fee of 5% of the market value of the land notified under the Stamp Act,” said the government.

It will entitle the applicant to begin non-agricultural use within one year from the date of the order.

The move comes two weeks after the administration set rules “to facilitate the establishment of business ventures on private land” to attract ₹51,000 crore investments.

In November 2020, the administration introduced land laws, for the first time since the reading of Article 370 in 2019, and claimed that they “will provide protection to more than 90% of the land in the territory of the Union”.

“A number of protections have been incorporated into new land laws along similar lines enacted in states such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. No agricultural land may be transferred to anyone outside J&K UT said J&K spokesperson and Principal Information Secretary Rohit Kansal at the time.

He said the laws will not only protect more than 90% of J&K’s land from alienation to foreigners, but will also help revamp the agricultural sector, foster rapid industrialization, foster economic growth and create jobs. .

Amalia H. Mercado