Despite public outcry, State admin hands over JKHPMC land to CRPF in Zakura

While the PDP-BJP government in 2018 put Central Reserve Police Force on notice for occupying 60 kanals of land in city outskirts at Zakura here, the state administration has now handed over the JKHPMC land for lease extendable upto 99 years to CRPF for an amount of about Rs 80 crore.

This decision has been taken despite strong resentment from locals and court direction asking government to remove encroachments on the land belonging to the J&K Horticulture Produce Marketing & Processing Corporation at Zakura.  Interestingly, on the pursuance of locals, the governor’s secretariat has also recommended construction of sport facilities on the said land. 

In a communication, last year, the state government had put the CRPF on notice to evacuate the land belonging to the JKHPMC at Zakura which were dedicated to the corporation for establishing cold store units by former chief minister of J&K, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah.

The PDP-BJP government last year had also turned down the request of the paramilitary force to raise additional structures and renovate the existing buildings on the land in question. “The administrative secretary, horticulture department had denied issuance of the no objection certificate to the Commandant 28th Battalion of CRPF for raising any additional structures vis-à-vis renovation of existing structures,” reads the communiqué.

Besides this communiqué, the High Court had disposed the case titled inhabitants of village Zakura v/s state of J&K and others in OWP No: 52/2015 by passing order dated 21/12/2018, the operative part of which is as “disposed of by providing that the official respondent shall take every step for removing the encroachment, if any, as regards the land in question so as to retrieve the same for common purpose.”

The Jammu and Kashmir government has leased out 60 kanals of state land in Srinagar outskirts to the CRPF for almost a century in return of about Rs 80 crore.

As per an order issued on Wednesday by DC Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhry, the 7.5 acre land (60 kanals) at Zakura belonging to the JK Horticulture Produce Marketing Corporation (JKHPMC) will be handed over to CRPF.

The order said that the land had been handed over “on lease/transfer basis for a period of forty years (extendable upto 99 years) for establishment of a battalion camping site of CRPF against a total consideration of Rs 79,66,40,000 (Rs 79.66 crore)”.

Former MLA, Ganderbal and National Conference leader, Ishfaq Jabar said that during a district development board meeting last year it was decided by then government that this land will be utilised for construction of sport facilities for common purpose. But it is surprising that administration has decided to go other way, he said.

Meanwhile Zakura welfare committee stated they will fight this order tooth and nail.

“We won’t allow the government to handover the land to CRPF. They can provide CRPF space at some other place, but not in our locality,” said Farooq Ahmad, a member of the welfare committee.