Strategic areas in J&K

The Jammu and Kashmir administration gave its approval to declare more than a thousand kanals of land in Gulmarg and 354 kanals in Sonamarg areas as “strategic areas”.

Key Points

  • This land will be utilised for “operational and training requirements” of the armed forces.
  • In July 2020, the administration had removed a 1971 circular that required a no-objection certificate (NOC) from J&K home department for requisition or acquisition of land in favour of the Army, CRPF, BSF, and other similar organisations.
  • Such acquisition is being covered under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, since July 2020.
  • Administration had also approved an amendment to Control of Building Operations Act, 1988, and J&K Development Act, 1970. The amendment provides for special dispensation to carrying out construction activities in “strategic areas” by armed forces.

Condition associated with order granting land

  • The order granting land in Gulmarg and Sonamarg to the armed forces provides a condition that “the corp commanders shall ensure strict commitment to environment-related laws in order to prevent any environmental hazard”.
  • furthermore, the armed forces must ensure that “no other applicable law in force in J&K is observed in breach”.

Which act empowers to notify strategic areas?

Authorities have notified these areas as strategic areas, by exercising powers under the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act. Government issued such notification for the first time since two acts “Control of Building Operations Act, 1988, and J&K Development Act, 1970” were amended in 2020. Amendment to these acts empowers government to notify “strategic areas” for use by armed forces and to regulate construction through special dispensation.

Jammu and Kashmir Development Act 1970

The 1970 Act deals with zonal development plans to determine land use for public buildings, housing recreation and roads. It also looks after development plans of industry, markets, business, schools, hospitals etc. An amendment to the act deleted the “permanent resident” provision in the act. Now, economically deprived people from across the country will be eligible to buy such housing sites.

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