Unrestricted constructions eat up agriculture land

With Laws Lacking Teeth Residential, Commercial Establishments



Srinagar, Oct 14: J&K government’s failure to check unrestricted land conversion has resulted in vast tracks of valuable land meant for agricultural purposes being used for raising commercial and residential establishments.
 In the absence of any law to check “illegal” conversion of agricultural land, state’s overall production of agricultural output has drastically come down by 20 to 30 percent in recent years, resulting in J&K literally becoming a consumer state with its limited resources of production to meet the demand for food.
 State government’s failure to stop massive constructions on agricultural land has resulted in the Valley’s prized saffron and paddy land alarmingly squeezing.
 Experts fear that if the conversion of agricultural land goes on unabated, there are apprehensions that in near future our state will have no local production of rice, maize and other agricultural products. As a result of which state’s GDP and economy will be badly affected.
 State government has so far failed to bring the bill in the legislature to put a ban on construction on agricultural land.
 Observers believe that the issue is serious as rapid urbanization, horizontal constructions; farmers growing more cash crops, increasing population are some of the reasons that have resulted in fast shrinking agricultural land in the valley.
 “It is an irony that the state government continues to ignore such a grave issue. There are some existing laws which bar use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, but all such laws remain confined to papers only,” said an official of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST).
 He said there is dire need of bringing new laws that will make use of agricultural land for other purpose almost difficult. “Besides there should be strict punishment for the violators in order to stop unhampered land conversion which will otherwise prove suicidal for the state,” he said.
 According to sources, land mafia in connivance with the government functionaries is involved in selling agriculture land for the establishment of residential colonies while the state government continues to turn a blind eye towards such violations.
 Peripheries of Srinagar like Alasteng, Humhama, Mirgund, Narbal, HMT, Zainakote, Mujgund, Shalteng, Ahmednagar, Sempora, Zaffran Colony, Khonmoh and many other areas in the outskirts of city are being unabatedly converted into residential colonies.
 Pertinently, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Srinagar Development Authority and other monitoring and implementing agencies have miserably failed to check “conversion of agricultural land into residential colonies.”
 “There is a nexus between various unscrupulous elements that establish residential colonies on agricultural land and then sell it to common people. It has now become a lucrative business for some people in which some state government departments are involved directly or indirectly,” said an official of SDA wishing not to be named.
 “It is a deadly trend that takes place by affecting changes in Master Plan and as a result illegal colonies get legalized under the patronage of ministers and bureaucrats while lower rung officials are not in a position to do anything,” a field official of SMC said.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 14 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 14 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 15 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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