Jammu: With the creation of a data bank, the Custodian Department has started geo-tagging all of its properties in Jammu and Kashmir to identify and protect Evacuee Properties (EP) with a motive to bring transparency and accountability.
The Custodian Department has set March 31, 2023 as deadline for complete geo-tagging in Jammu and Kashmir, as per the officials in the department.
The EP properties in Kashmir have been geo-tagged / digitised whereas work is in progress in Jammu region’s districts although Old Jammu City’s properties have been digitized.
As per the sources, the department has created a computerised data bank of EP properties in Jammu and Kashmir which are under our direct control because many EP properties are still out of our control.
“We are compiling comprehensive data of those EP properties which were allottees / leased out by us. Once it is done, we will follow the second course of action with regard to the left out EP properties in J&K,” the officials in Custodian Department said.
They said, “We are dependent upon the Revenue Department to collect data with regard to EP properties. However, we do not have revenue staff in the Custodian Department. Importantly, many allotments of the EP properties in different areas were done by the respective tehsildars (in the capacity of assistant custodians) and most of the EP properties records have not been maintained.”
An official said that the department does not have the proper details of allotment of EP property done by tehsildars and they too have not shared any details with it. “We know that over 14 lakhs kanals of land belong to the Custodian Department in Jammu region,” he added while informing that most of the EP land / properties have been allotted to the Displaced Persons / Refugees.
“The concerned tehsildars did allotments (of EP properties) in consultation with the Provincial Rehabilitation Officers for the Displaced Persons (DPs) of 1947. Similarly, the allotments in favour of DPs of 1965 and 1971 were done respectively under the supervision of Chhamb Displaced Persons Rehabilitation Authority. Although the tehsildars might have prepared records at that time, with the passage of time, the condition of the records has become dilapidated,” an official told Greater Kashmir.
They added , “We are geo-tagging EP properties with their photographs and locations and they are being uploaded on the official website of the department. So far, we have digitized / geo-tagged records of Jammu’s Urban (Jammu Old City), Kathua, Rajouri districts of Jammu region and entire Kashmir valley.”
In the next two weeks, the official said , “We will be able to digitize EP properties in Udhampur, Samba, Poonch and other districts. Overall, we will be able to complete digitization in one month in the region.”
“The purpose of digitisation of the record will protect the EP properties from any kind of encroachment. With this exercise, the revenue authorities (tehsildars) will have to seek permission from the Custodian Department first to allot any EP property in future.”