Indian Army to vacate Kargil land to build township

Fayaz Wani

SRINAGAR: The Indian Army would vacate around 3,000 kanals (375 acres) land at Kargil Lower Plateau in six months, starting March, paving the path for a well-planned civilian township. The one-and-a-half years of talks on the issue culminated  in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Deputy Commissioner Kargil and CEO of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Baseer-ul-Haq Choudhary and Brigade Commander, 121 Infantry Division, Brigadier Vivek Bakshi on Friday.

The army had been using the land locally known as Khurbathang plateau for field and firing range, logistics, and operational purposes. The civilian administration has assured the army of alternative land.
As per the MoU, army would start vacating the land in March, and hand over its control to the civil administration in six months.

Baseer-ul-Haq told TNIE that army would get alternative tract of 3,000 kanals at two places in Kargil – one near the Maratha Unit Kurbathang and the other at Mulbekh.  Baseer-ul-Haq said this would pave the path for the establishment of a new and planned township in Kargil, with all modern amenities under the Smart City project. 

In April 2015, the then PDP-BJP coalition government in J&K had asked the army to vacate the Khurbathang plateau. It had decided to provide alternative locations at Mulbekh (75 acres) and upper Yogmathang (187 acres).

When asked about the future of the structures raised by army on the land, Baseer-ul-Haq said, “It will be decided after proper guidelines and protocols are framed. The guidelines will decide on providing compensation, if any, to the army for the structures.”