Srinagar: Political parties in Kashmir on Friday sought clarity over the eligible beneficiaries of the administration’s land for landless scheme, saying the right to domicile should be given to permanent residents of the Union Territory only.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has accorded sanction to the allotment of land on a lease basis to the landless people, with only domiciles of the Union Territory eligible for the scheme.
In a set of guidelines issued by the Revenue Department, the administration accorded sanction to the allotment of five Marla of state land on a lease basis in favour of landless PMAY (G)/Awas plus beneficiaries.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief spokesperson Suhail Bukhari called for greater transparency from the administration regarding the scheme’s intentions and implications.
“Well, this whole policy which is purportedly called land to landless is shrouded in mystery. Because, there have been statements coming from here and there, but the essential information that should have come out is still evading the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Bukhari told PTI here.
Initially, the administration informed that there were two lakh landless families, but later, they admitted that the number was lesser.
“And now, when they issued the guidelines, they said that the eligibility of this scheme would be the domicile of Jammu and Kashmir. Now, we know that this administration had issued domicile certificates to a number of people who essentially are not originally residents of Jammu and Kashmir. But, by means of this order they would be eligible for this scheme,” he said.
Hence, the apprehensions that were raised by people at large which were also echoed and represented by the PDP and its president Mehbooba Mufti, seem to be getting strengthened, he said.
“They need to tell us whether these domiciles are essentially those who were state subjects or new people who are not state subjects and have now gotten the domicile certificates. Because their intentions are under question,” the PDP chief spokesperson said.
Bukhari said they believe that there is a “project of the current dispensation to change the demography and the social composition of this place”.
“And, they have been working towards it one thing at a time. And there are reasons to believe the intentions are such because we look at various incidents such as – flats through J&K housing board to non-locals, those do not belong to J&K per se, is one such instance and now this particular thing,” he alleged.
So, we demand the administration to come clean and reveal how many domicile certificates have been issued so far, how many of them are original state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir, and how many of them are those who did not belong to Jammu and Kashmir before that, he said.
As far as the eligibility of this scheme is concerned, that should also be cleared, Bukhari demanded.
“That only those domicile certificate holders will get land under this scheme who are the original state subjects? Or, they also include people who are domiciles but not original state subjects of this place,” he said.
National Conference (NC) chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said while the scheme is “not bad”, the decision should have been left to an elected government.
“Such decisions are usually taken by an elected government. The most important question that the people are asking is whether these beneficiaries were domiciles before August 2019 (when Article 370 was abrogated) or after that,” he said, adding that if it’s the latter, then it raises a question on the entire process.
Senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said if non-state subjects are given domicile certificates, “We condemn this and we do not approve of this”.
“Many political parties have demanded that the right to domicile should be given to permanent residents only. It is constitutionally as well as lawfully justified. From the time of Maharaja Hari Singh till today (permanent residents) should be given domicile,” he said.
Tarigami said the question arises as to whom should the land be given to.
“We also demanded that we have institutions like panchayats and urban local bodies. Panchayats and urban local bodies should be given the responsibility to identify land. So that there will be transparency,” he said.
In a set of guidelines issued by the Revenue Department, the UT administration accorded sanction to the allotment of five Marla of state land on a lease basis in favour of landless PMAY (G)/Awas plus beneficiaries.
The category of people, out of the Rural Development Department’s permanent waiting list 2018-19, eligible for the scheme include those residing on state land, forest land, ‘rakhs’ and farms.
It also includes people in possession of custodian land, and those residing on land already allotted by the government near Dachigam Park for agricultural purposes, where construction is not permitted.
“Any other category of cases who are otherwise eligible for housing under PMAY-G but don’t have any land available for construction,” the order said.
According to the order, an individual shall be considered landless if he is a domicile of Jammu and Kashmir has a separate family does not have land in his name or in the name of any of his family members or is not entitled to inherit five marla or more of land.
The land shall be granted on a lease basis in terms of the Jammu and Kashmir Land Grants Act of 1960 and the rules made thereunder.
The land in respect of these beneficiaries shall be granted on lease on payment of a token amount of Rs 100 per marla as a one-time premium and a nominal amount of Rs 1 per marla per annum as ground rent, in relaxation of Jammu and Kashmir Land Grant Rules, 2022, the order said.
The lease shall be for a period of 40 years, extendable further for a period of another 40 years, subject to the fulfilment of all formalities/norms.
However, if a person fails to build a house on the allotted land within a period of two years, such lease shall be cancelled forthwith, the order said.
The assistant commissioner (development) of the Rural Development Department of the district concerned shall verify the case and place an indent before the deputy commissioner along with the complete particulars of the beneficiaries.