SRINAGAR: The rush of applicants for plots at a proposed residential cluster for serving and retired soldiers in Srinagar is so overwhelming that a soldiers’ panel pushing the project is eyeing nearly two-and-a half times the land it has already identified near the Airport.
Kashmir Reader reported on August 14 that 173 kanals (21 acres) of land have been identified for the “Sainik Colony (soldiers colony), where serving and retired army personnel will be allotted plots.
About 6,000 serving and retired soldiers have so far applied for plots at the colony, proposed on state land behind the Friends Enclave near the main gate of Srinagar Aiport.
In view of the number of applicants, the soldiers’ panel led by Governor NN Vohra is contemplating to request the state government to allot entire 416 kanals of state land. Only 173 kanals had been identified by the panel.
A source in the Home department said that not only local soldiers but servicemen from other parts of India also will be settled in the colony. Currently, 7,000 J&K residents are serving in the army, while 7,500 are ex-servicemen. About 1,000 families, who had lost a member while serving in the army, are also entitled to own plots.
According to the proposal cleared by Governor NN Vohra in Rajya Sainik Board this year, a commissioned officer would be allotted 11 marlas of land, a Junior Commissioned Officer 8 marlas and a soldier of the subordinate rank 5 marlas of land.
An applicant has to produce retirement discharge book while in-service soldiers have to produce service particulars for registration formalities.
“The documentation work for registration of the plot has been done,” a source said.
“About 40 retired Kashmir Pandit officers and 300 soldiers have applied for the plots,” the source said.
He said that although the Narendra Modi-led government is keen to set up the colony sooner than later, the Home department is delaying the clearance because the state government “apprehends widespread trouble”.
In 2012, the Sainik Welfare department floated the proposal of setting up the residential cluster and early this year Rajya Sainik Board cleared it. Much of the time since then went into identifying a secure place for the colony. The proposal only needs clearance from the state government.
That the plan has been in the pipeline for quite some time now has been corroborated by RSS man and BJP parliamentarian Tarun Vijay, who has submitted a proposal to Narendra Modi-led government, demanding settlement rights for soldiers in the Valley.
Vijay demanded settlement rights for the soldiers who have served a minimum of three years in the Valley. He also requested that the state and New Delhi should give a 25-year tax holiday to such soldiers who “initiate an industry or any enterprise creating wealth for the state and providing employment to the state’s youth”.
India’s defence ministry has forwarded the proposal to the JK government.
Resistance groups and opposition National Conference have rejected the proposal, claiming that such plans are aimed at changing the demography of the state.
According to Jammu and Kashmir constitution, no person who is not a state subject can own property or settle in the state.