Nearly 90% of Kashmir’s land is agricultural and not one inch of it will be given to any outsider, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha told News18 in an exclusive interview. He expressed hope that the amended land laws would attract an investment of an estimated Rs 30,000 crore within the next three years.
He added that those whose children were studying in London shouldn’t object to the common person in Kashmir getting access to best hospitals from the private sector, which is what would happen through the amendment to the land laws.
Responding to questions about the new land laws and which have been strongly criticised by regional parties in Kashmir, Sinha said that the opposition to the amended land laws was being done “to hide 70 years of ineptitude.” He said that a false information was being propagated by these parties.
The Lieutenant Governor said that the investments that will come after the recently amended laws will also solve the issue of unemployment, which in J&K are double the national average.
“When industries come, then employment also will be generated. We are in the process of formulating one of the best industrial policies in the country and I’m convinced that in the coming three years, we will see an investment of at least Rs 30,000 crore,” Sinha said.
He talked about the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, also known as the Roshni Act, which the government declared on October 31 as null and void.
The Roshni Act was enacted during the regime of Farooq Abdullah and meant to earn Rs 25,000 crore by transferring 2.5 lakh acres of state land to existing occupants against payment at market rates. A 2014 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General estimated that only Rs 76 crore had been realised from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013. The government not only declared the act null and void it also decided to retrieve all the land sold under this act within the next six months.
“The government was meant to give this land for setting up of industries, hospitals and parks under this act. But influential people got this land for peanuts. It is in this context that you need to see the amended land laws. More than 88% of the land here is agricultural. Not one inch of it will be given to any outsider,” Sinha said.
He said that the government wanted to build an industrial city, an IT city, a medicity, the roadmap for which was being laid through these recent developments.
“The industry wants two things from a place where they are investing – land and raw material. Jammu and Kashmir is gifted in that respect. The horticulture, sericulture and agriculture sectors are in good shape. Walnuts, rice and saffron are of the best quality in the whole world. In this respect I think the land laws will prove to be a great milestone,” said Sinha.
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