Jammu: In a significant decision, the Administrative Council (AC) which met here under the chairmanship of the Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, approved the regulations framed by the board of revenue for conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes.
These regulations were necessitated after the legislative changes in the land revenue act post-reorganization of the erstwhile state.
Farooq Khan and Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisors to the Lieutenant Governor, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, J&K and Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor attended the meeting.
These regulations have been issued to regulate the uncontrolled conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes on the one hand and keeping the developmental aspirations of the UT and the people on the other hand.
Under the new regulations, the District Collector has been empowered to grant permission to the change in land use from agricultural to non-agricultural purposes in accordance with the procedure as to be notified by the board of Revenue. The permission is to be granted within 30 days of filing of the application with a provision of deemed approval if no decisions are taken.
The powers have been delegated to the District Collector to grant permission for land up to 12 ½ standard acres against a fee of 5 per cent of the market value of the land notified under the Stamps Act.
The regulations empower the applicant to commence the non agriculture use on the permitted land within one year from the date of the order issued by the District Collector in this behalf. However, the land can be diverted and used only for the purpose specified in the permission.
Moreover, the regulations provide exemption from seeking the permission in cases of conversion for construction of residential house or farm-related buildings and storages with a ceiling of 400 Sq. mtrs (17 Marla).
The Assistant Commissioner (Revenue), Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Tehsildar concerned have been entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of these regulations within their respective areas of jurisdiction. Besides, it will be the duty of every Agriculture Extension Officer to report cases of violation to the revenue officers and any neglect on this account can attract disciplinary action for dereliction of duty.
The decision is aimed at ensuring production of sufficient quantity of food grains, besides promoting orderly growth of industrial and services sector in this Union territory and creation of employment.
By this, the UT will be at par with the leading states of the country in allowing the conversion and reducing compliance burden under Business Reforms Action Plan (Ease of Doing Business) in an investor friendly eco-system.