The widening of Srinagar-Jammu highway has been going on since last almost a decade now and till date the proposed six lane road project hasn't been completed.
The road is in complete mess, especially from Srinagar to Qazigund. Authorities have already acquired land and property which mostly belongs to people living on both sides of this highway.
Families who live on this highway, especially those within the Srinagar city limits, are not at all satisfied with the payment of compensation. Why should they be satisfied? The compensation is meager as the existing State Land Acquisition Act does not guarantee payment of fair compensation to the affected families.
Land Acquisition at Panthachowk:
Panthachowk has always been a headache for commuters traveling on Srinagar Jammu highway. People want to get rid of massive traffic jams in this area and to make this happen the residential houses and shops have to be dismantled.
The locals allege that they haven't been paid fair compensation and that is the reason they are reluctant to move from the area. Recently authorities used force to clear the area. Authorities say that in spite of being paid monetary compensation many residents had not evicted their houses. The local residents on the other hand allege that Government has paid them very meager amount as compensation, and many are yet to paid.
Widening roads, creating better infrastructure, is a very positive development indeed, but the compensation amount in J&K is mere peanuts. On the other hand the affected families in other villages and cities located in various states get very handsome amount as compensation, as these states have implemented New Land Acquisition Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act (LARR).
What is New Land Acquisition Act ?
The New Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR Act ) was enacted by Congress led UPA Government in 2013 and enforced from January 2014. This law is not applicable to J&K (under article 370). Under LARR Act compensation will be paid 2 times more in urban areas and 4 times more in rural areas during land acquisition, and consent from 70 to 80 % people has to be sought as well.
The BJP led NDA Government made some amendments to benefit corporate lobby and the provision of seeking consent from people has been deleted. Had J&K Government enacted this law People of Pantha Chowk would have been paid 2 times more compensation than the actual market value of land / property. Today authorities would not have to use force to throw them out.
The areas which fall in rural areas on the Srinagar Jammu highway would have been entitled to 4 times more compensation, plus other benefits. The compensation under new Land Acquisition Act (UPA version) is to be paid retrospectively. The property and land acquired from September 2011 onwards is covered under LARR Act. But all this is not going to be a reality in our state unless we have such a law in operation.