In News: The J&K Lieutenant Governor’s administration notified fresh land rules under J&K Land Grant Rules-2022 and replaced the J&K Land Grants Rules-1960, which dealt with the special rules to grant government land on lease in erstwhile State of J&K.
- Prime locations such as Srinagar, Jammu, Gulmarg and Pahalgam were opened up for construction of hotels, commercial structures and residential buildings in the past.
- These land laws were considered as the backbone of J&K’s upper middle class and allowed a new chain of hotels and commercial structures to come up in prime locations.
Need for amendment:
- Because the previous land laws were “regressive”.
- The present land holders just paid ₹5 to enjoy profit from ₹100 crore property.
- Leases of current land owners will not be extended in case of expiry.
- Expired leases shall not be renewed and shall stand determined.
- lease period has been reduced to 40 years (earlier 99 yrs.)
- Outgoing lease holders to evict properties or else face evictions.
- An expert committee will enlist all properties where lease had ended.
- It will be e-auctioned afresh.
- The rules open bidding to “any person legally competent under Section 11 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.”
- These rules deem a person or an entity in default of Government Revenue accrued to the government under J&K Land Grant Act, 1960 or Government convicted under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 shall not be eligible for participation in the auction.
- According to now-repealed land laws, no such land shall be granted on lease to the person, who is not a permanent residence of the State; except where the Government, for the reasons to be recorded, relax this restriction in the interest of industrial or commercial development or in the favour of a registered charitable society.
Uses of leased lands:
- Education, healthcare, agriculture, tourism, skill development and development of traditional art, craft, culture and languages.
- For hydro-electric projects, stadiums, playgrounds, gymnasiums or other recreational purposes.
- For self-employment or for housing purposes of ex-servicemen, war widows and the families of martyrs, one who has sacrificed his life in the line of duty.
- For facilities of migrant workers, buildings and other construction workers.
Impact of new rules:
- Hundreds of properties will open for fresh auction, where outsiders could also participate.
- Tourist hotspots Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Srinagar and Jammu’s Patnitop will go up for auction.
Concerns and oppositions:
- Opposition contends that the first right to these lease properties “belongs to those who were already settled here”.
- Bringing rich outsiders to buy prime property in J&K may be at the cost of local businesses and their interests
- No local could participate in the e-auction given the conditions business houses were in due to the uncertain situation of the past 30 years.
- Only millionaires from outside will buy these properties and the locals, who hold these properties currently, will be forced to sell their personal properties, including houses, to repay loans raised on these properties.
- Kashmir’s two key traders’ bodies, the Jammu Kashmir Hoteliers Club (JKHC) and the Chamber Of Commerce Industry Kashmir (CCIK), said J&K’s economy would come to a grinding halt and urged the L-G to reconsider the decision.
- All the stakeholders are sons of soil and the matter should be looked into through the prism of humanity and personally.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Questions
Q.1) With reference to land reforms in independent India, which one of the following statements is correct? (2019)
- The ceiling laws were aimed at family holdings and not individual holdings.
- The major aim of land reforms was providing agricultural land to all the landless.
- It resulted in cultivation of cash crops as a predominant form of cultivation.
- Land reforms permitted no exemptions to the ceiling limits.