Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday stated that real estate investment “would not bring any demographic change in J&K” and those propagating such theories were “making a despicable attempt to provoke people’s sentiments.”
LG Sinha also averred that he did not feel any need to review Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) in J&K at the moment.
He was interacting with the media after inaugurating “J&K Real Estate Summit-Unlocking opportunities” here at Convention Centre, Jammu.
“I will not comment on any political leader’s statement as I’ve another important job in hand to perform. Haan Jahan Tak Iss Koshish Ki Baat Hai To Yeh Logon Ki Bhavnaon Ko Bhadkaaney Ka Ek Kutsit Prayas Hai (Yes, as far as such efforts are concerned to create fear psychosis in the minds of people against real estate investment by linking it to demographic change, this is a despicable attempt to provoke people’s sentiments),” he said when asked to comment on statements by different political leaders, linking real estate investment to an attempt to effect demographic change in J&K.
“When I was holding deliberations with big real estate players, I had requested them to ensure to take along local/domestic players in their projects. They assured me to treat them (domestic players) as their intrinsic partners in the development of J&K. Those, who have come from distant, far off parts of India, are here not only for business purposes but are here to contribute to J&K’s development and thus nation’s development as well so that J&K too can have its own galaxy of big industrialists,” he added.
When asked if he too felt the need to review and revoke AFSPA from J&K to meet such demands from different quarters after a committee was set up by the Centre for Nagaland for the purpose (to review AFSPA) to pacify sentiments there, LG Sinha’s response was precise. “You don’t need to bother about that. I’m looking into it carefully. I don’t feel the need to do so at present,” he asserted.
How much land was identified by the J&K government for real estate investment and (setting up of) industries and was it identified from the agriculture sector also after change in land use pattern?
Responding to these twin questions, the Lieutenant Governor stated, “With regard to industries, it was stated earlier also that the J&K government already had a land bank of 6000 acres (of land). We’ve permitted in the case of industries that even if the agricultural land is taken (by the industrialists/investors) for the purpose of setting up industries, we’ve framed laws for change in land use.”
“The government land at our disposal, be it belonging to Jammu Development Authority (JDA) or Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) will be given to the real estate sector. We’ve also put related laws in place if they (real estate investors) want to develop housing colonies even after buying private land. The land owners will be given an option to go for the best deal of their choice,” he added.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT NOT TO SNATCH LAND, JOBS OF LOCALS
When asked about the assertions of various political parties that the industries making investment in real estate would snatch away both land and jobs from the locals who would have to play second fiddle to the outsiders, LG Sinha said, “I dismiss all these speculations completely. A comparison will clearly reveal that in all hydropower, railways or National Highway (NHIDCL) projects underway here (in J&K), the number of locals employed is much more than in any other state. The ratio of local employment is the maximum here. However in case of skilled jobs, only skilled persons are required and this ratio may be skewed. But if you’ve to complete the projects, you need skilled people and there can be no alternative to this. We’ve all the data with us on this account. Hence the allegations are baseless and I completely reject them.”
Following real estate investment, will a Sainik Colony – a Housing Society for the retired and serving personnel of army and Central Para Military Forces, on the pattern of the one existing in Jammu, come up in Kashmir as was earlier mooted by previous governments yet was shelved after stiff opposition to it?
LG Sinha’s response to this question was affirmative. He hinted that the efforts were underway in this connection. “Woh Sukhad Din Aap Jald Dekhein Aisa Prayaytan Aapko Bahut Se Parinaamon Mein Dikhai Padega (Efforts underway will make it happen so that you’re able to witness that joyous day soon),” he replied.
He averred that the commitment to introduce reforms to change the face of J&K for better would be fulfilled in earnest be they are related to cut in stamp duty, implementation of single window system.
“As a precursor to this (Real Estate) Summit, we’ve taken all those steps required to be put in place. Tenancy Act has been enforced; all formalities related to RERA have been completed. Today 39 MoUs have been signed; thus broadly speaking investment proposals worth Rs 18,300 Cr have been received. This will serve a twin purpose. One it will bring prosperity to the state; secondly it will create both direct and indirect opportunities for employment generation,” LG Sinha stated.
In response to another question related to Jammu industrialists’ problems, he stated that all the issues (of Chamber) were resolved.
He averred that with NAREDCO, J&K government had initiated a skill development programme for 10,000 construction workers. “This number will rise in the time to come. Similarly, an MoU has been signed for constructing houses for J&K government employees and the police personnel,” he said. He greeted NAREDCO for starting its J&K chapter and also its local partners for ushering in a new phase of development and hoped that the former (NAREDCO) would work with the same zeal in the UT (J&K) as it was exhibiting in other parts of the country.
LG Sinha asserted that the decisions related to the Central Secretariat project, a scheme initiated by the Prime Minister with the objective to facilitate citizens to access and avail services of all departments of Government of India under one roof (complex) in the capital city of every state, too had been taken in J&K. “The land for the project has been identified by our Secretary Dheeraj Gupta and the CPWD will soon start work on it (project),” he informed.