Court seeks report on land conversion

‘Laws Should Be Implemented In Letter And Spirit To Prevent Misuse Of Agriculture Land’


Srinagar, Apr 15: The High Court on Saturday directed the state government to come up with a detailed report within one week on the steps taken by it for stopping conversion of agriculture land for non-agriculture purposes in the Kashmir Valley. The Government was also ordered to inform the Court about its plans to accommodate the increasing population in their respective districts on modern lines by planning innovative integrated housing projects.
A division bench comprising Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Ali Muhammad Magray while passing directions on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) said any deviation from the orders issued by the court earlier would be “at the risk and peril of the respondents”.
The Court had earlier directed the concerned Deputy Commissioners in Kashmir to stop conversion of agricultural land into residential colonies in their districts and asked them to explore possibility of accommodating the increasing population on modern lines.
It had asked all the Deputy Commissioners to ensure provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Act and the Jammu and Kashmir Revenue Act were implemented in letter and spirit to stop conversion of agricultural land.
Due to random conversion of Agriculture land the State Government in 2011 decided to bring a law to ban the practice. However, the law is yet to see the light of the day.
In Kashmir alone more than two lakh kanals of agriculture land of the net sown or cultivated area of 3.5 lakh hectares has been converted for commercial and other purposes, revealed a report prepared by the Agriculture Department in 2011. The situation is no better in Jammu region, it said.
The Human Watch International had filed the PIL seeking directions regarding the agriculture land conversion into residential housing colonies in violation of law including J&K Land Revenue Act, J&K agrarian Reforms Act and other Land Laws.
Besides, the Court had directed the Deputy Commissioner Pulwama to ensure that the land used for cultivation of Saffron at Pampore is reserved for the spice and no conversion and constructions was allowed on the land. Kashmiri Saffron is known worldwide for its quality and is mostly cultivated in the Kerawas of Pampore in South Kashmir. However the area has been witnessing frequent conversion of the land for non-agriculture purpose, poising threat to survival of the saffron.
Advocate Aijaz Ahmad represented the petitioners while deputy Advocate General, N H Shah and Advocates BA Khan and GA Lone represented the respondents.
Pertinently, Legislative Assembly had last year constituted a House panel, to look into the issue of mass conversion of agricultural land in HMT, Singhpora, Mujgund and other areas into unauthorized residential colonies.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 15 Apr 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 15 Apr 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Apr 2013 00:00:00 IST

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