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Govt assurances fail to persuade J&K residents as legislation makes conversion of farmland for non-farming job easy


On Monday, the Jammu and Kashmir authorities sought to allay fears of demographic change by mentioning that the major chunk of the land here which is worn for agricultural capabilities would possibly maybe well be reserved on the market handiest to the local residents. It said that 90 percent of the land turned into as soon as agricultural in nature and it must also be supplied to Jammu and Kashmir agriculturalists handiest. However the assurance which got here after sturdy protests by the political parties at the side of the separatist and mainstream leaders here belies the facts on the floor.

Jammu and Kashmir has seen a like a flash change of land expend from agricultural to non-agricultural capabilities. With folks taking over other jobs for livelihood as an replacement of cultivation on the agricultural land, thousands of hectares of agricultural land had been worn for industrial and residential capabilities.

For the duration of Kashmir mountainous tracts of land at the side of paddy fields had been transformed into the having a witness centres or for constructing residential colonies.  The non-cultivable land is merely being designated as barren land by the earnings authorities and allowed on the market.

As per the authorities’s possess estimates, the erstwhile enlighten of Jammu and Kashmir had an home of 20,230 sq. kilometres beneath forests which accounted for 22.67 percent of the linked geographical (1,01,387 sq. kilometres) home. The per capita woodland home turned into as soon as tremendously elevated and accounted for 0.15 hectares as in opposition to 0.06 hectares at the pan-India stage.

In 2016-17, the Union Territory had a cultivable home unfold over 858 thousand hectares which turned into as soon as handiest 9 percent of its geographical home. In the 300 and sixty five days 2017-18, the get home sown turned into as soon as handiest 752 thousand hectares that constituted 7.42 percent of its geographical home.

Agriculture Kashmir director Aijaz Altaf Andrabi said that the authorities have to contain place in place more stringent measures to set up the conversion of agricultural land into industrial capabilities.

“A committee desires to be formed to search out out how earnings authorities allowed the conversion of agriculture land into non-agricultural capabilities. The land is being designated as Banjar by earnings authorities and allowed for expend for construction capabilities which have to had been averted. Now now not no longer up to 30,000 hectares of the agricultural land has been transformed into non-agricultural capabilities in Kashmir handiest,” Andrabi said.

Nevertheless, the Central authorities has made it easy for converting agricultural land proper into a non-agricultural one.  Via the amendments in the Land Revenue Act, the authorities has made it imaginable to convert the agricultural land for one more aim through the associated fee of a fee to the authorities.

“Notwithstanding one thing else contained in sub-allotment (1), an owner or occupant, who desires to place his agricultural land into non-agricultural uses as offered in the regional design, construction design or grasp design as the case would possibly maybe be, shall elevate out so it after cost of conversion charges as prescribed by the Board occasionally,” learn the amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act.

After all, the authorities has also allowed that the agricultural land would possibly maybe be given out on lease. Via the introduction of a peculiar chapter in the Act, it has been spelt out that “notwithstanding one thing else contained in another legislation, the Executive would possibly maybe merely through a notification in the excellent gazette, formulate procedures and prerequisites for leasing in or leasing out of agricultural land for agriculture and allied actions, in accordance to the provisions of this Act.”

Kashmir’s smartly-known merely professional Mohammad Ayub said that the protections on the sale of agricultural land were more stringent in the Jammu and Kashmir Land Alienation Act which has now been repealed by the authorities. Below the legislation, the alienation of land through sale or mortgage turned into as soon as strictly prohibited to the non-enlighten residents and there turned into as soon as a restriction that handiest a selected allotment of the land would possibly maybe had been alienated. The Land Alienation Act turned into as soon as framed essentially to make your mind up on loans in opposition to the mortgage of the land to local financial establishments to pork up agricultural productivity.

Ayub said that in actuality a lot of the regulations that the authorities described as regressive “were modern in nature”. “The Jammu and Kashmir Appropriate of Prior Make a selection Act which has also been repealed allowed the kinfolk the preferential rights for expend over agricultural land so as that they would possibly maybe also contain continued with the cultivation,” he said.

The Appropriate Of Make a selection Act spells out that “the gentle of prior expend shall mean the gentle of a person to provide agricultural land or village immovable property or urban immovable properly in place of different members and it arises in admire of such land handiest in case of sales and in admire such property handiest in case of sales or of foreclosures of the gentle to redeem such property.”

The authorities said that the Agrarian Reforms Act which outdated-fashioned the Enormous Landed Abolition Act and has now been modified prohibited the selling of land dispensed to tillers even after 44 years.

Ayoub said that a huge chunk of land turned into as soon as the one which turned into as soon as transferred to the tillers and the prohibition turned into as soon as needed to create particular the landholding turned into as soon as worn for cultivation capabilities. In the modified Agrarian Reforms Act the sale duration has been decreased to 15 years.

The amended Agrarian Reforms Act states, “on condition that nothing on this subsection shall prohibit the switch of such land ownership whereof has been vested in a most likely owner beneath allotment 8 after the expiry of fifteen years from the date such land has been vested in the Whisper beneath allotment 4 of the Act.”

Via the Agrarian Reforms Act, the authorities had earlier mounted the ceiling of the land that would possibly maybe also had been held by the landlords to 100 kanals from the 182 kanals that were licensed beneath the Enormous Landed Estate Abolition Act.

“The Agrarian Reforms Act stays very grand in place. After all if one thing else the provisions of the agrarian reforms act had been tweaked to resolve away one of the most important folks grievous provisions. To illustrate, I mentioned relating to the actual fact that these that legitimately got the possession were unable to sell. So the amendment in the Act permits sale by the tiller after 15 years of ownership. Obvious permissions in the previous act allowed erstwhile former house owners to file resumption capabilities that permission has been carried out away with,” said authorities spokesperson Rohit Kansal.

Nevertheless, the amended Agrarian Reforms Act permits the land of the tillers to be supplied to companies or even trusts, said advocate HC Jalmeria.

The Agrarian Reforms Act is additional governed by several provisions of the Land Revenue Act itself.  After the landlords were deprived of the land, the land turned into as soon as first transferred to the authorities beneath allotment 4 of the Agrarian Reforms Act and then the authorities transferred the ownership rights beneath allotment 8 of the Act to the tiller. Nevertheless, the additional ownership of tillers land has now been governed beneath sections “133-H, 133-I, 133-J, 133-K and 133-L of the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act.”

The allotment 133 H offers the officer of the authorities the gentle to “alienate the land to a non-agriculturist through sale, gift, alternate or mortgage or for such agreement on such prerequisites as would possibly maybe be prescribed.”

“Nothing contained in sub-allotment (1) will be deemed to prohibit the switch of land, by any person or Executive, as outlined in sub-allotment (1) in favour of,- (a) a land much less person or a village artisan as per eligibility, residency prerequisites and job to be prescribed and notified by the Executive: (b) any Executive ; (c) a Firm or a Corporation or a Board established by or beneath a statute and owned and managed by the Executive or a Executive Firm as outlined in the Companies Act, 2013. Notwithstanding one thing else contained in allotment 133-H and topic to such job, as would possibly maybe be prescribed on this regard, the Executive would possibly maybe merely, by notification in the excellent Gazette, enable switch of land, as outlined in said allotment, in favour of eligible public have confidence established beneath legislation for charitable aim and which is non-a hit in nature.”

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