On Monday, a notification issued by the Government of India stated that any citizen of the country can now buy land in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and necessarily need not to be a domicile of the region. The only condition is that the land concerned should be in the municipal areas of Jammu and Kashmir and it should not be agricultural land.
Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020 will be applicable with immediate effect, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. It will also encourage development in the region, according to the ministry. On 5th August, 2019, the former state of Jammu and Kashmir was announced to be bifurcated into two Union Territories namely, Ladakh and J&K.
The notification further states that the spouse of Jammu and Kashmir domicile will also be considered a domicile of the region. Earlier, spouse of Permanent Resident card holders were not considered domiciles legally. Central Government Officials’ children posted in J&K for more than ten years will also be considered domiciles.
J&K political parties have called the notification issued by the Government unacceptable, and expressed concerns that it will hit the small land owning farmers of the region.
On Tuesday, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said in Srinagar agricultural land is reserved for the farmers and the notification does not affects it. However, in industrial areas, “we want industries to come up here so that there is there is development and employment”, he added. A senior government official said that another explanatory notification is expected to be issued soon and even industrial area will not be given to anyone and polluting and hazardous industries will be avoided.
The agricultural land can only be transferred with the government’s approval. The use of agricultural land for making a residential accommodation or grain storage should not exceed the area of four hundred square metres in total.
The government may also declare a specific area “strategic area” for direct operational and training of armed forces. However, this can only be done after the written request of an Army personnel who is above the rank of corps commander.