Outsiders can also purchase land in J&K

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Centre Notifies a new law to integrate the Union territory with the rest of the country according to which urban land and immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir can now be purchased by residents of any state.

Earlier, only residents of Jammu and Kashmir were allowed to purchase land in the state. But the Centre's move in August last year, scrapping the state's special powers under Article 370 of the Constitution and its bifurcation into two Union Territories, paved the way for the change.

The phrase "permanent resident of the state" has been omitted from Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act, which deals with the disposal of land in the Union Territory, by the Centre in a gazette notification.

Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha clarified that the new law does not apply to agricultural land.

"I want to say this forcefully and with full responsibility that agricultural land has been kept reserved for farmers; no outsider will come on those lands," said the Lieutenant-Governor.

"The industrial areas that we have defined -- we want that like the rest of the country, industries to come here so that Jammu and Kashmir also develops and employment is generated," he said at a Press Conference.

The local political parties protested against the move.

"Unacceptable amendments to the land ownership laws of JK. Even the tokenism of domicile has been done away with when purchasing non-agricultural land and the transfer of agricultural land has been made easier. JK is now up for sale and poorer small landholding owners will suffer," former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.

"After failing on all fronts to provide roti & rozgar to people, BJP is creating such laws to whet the appetite of a gullible electorate. Such brazen measures reinforce the need of people of all three provinces of J&K to fight unitedly," another tweet from her readers.

Left leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted: "This is highway robbery. The loot of J&K's resources & beautiful landscape. Having destroyed all people's democratic structures, will the next step be a forcible land acquisition to hand over to cronies & fatten the purses of the ruling party at Centre? This cannot be allowed."

A senior bureaucrat in the home ministry said with this move, the Centre has brought uniformity in land laws throughout India.

With the new notification, three central laws will come into effect in Jammu and Kashmir. Twelve state laws have been repealed and 14 amended or substituted.

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