SRINAGAR: Army today agreed to vacate some land near the airport and the University in Jammu while several joint committees have been formed to address other issues regarding transfer of land held by Army to the civil administration at various places in the state. The Army was also requested to secure areas having landmines, in particular those which are adjacent to the farm or fields of the local inhabitants, along the International Border and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu region, an official spokesman.
The decisions were taken at a Civil-Military Liaison (CML) meet chaired by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and attended by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, top Army commanders, Chief Secretary B R Sharma, Director General of Police K Rajendra and senior civil officers.
The CML met after nearly two years as its last meeting took place in November 2013. On the issue of transferof state land adjoining the campus of Jammu University, the Army agreed in principle to provide the land, north of road adjoining the campus, for expansion of Jammu University precincts, the spokesman said.
He said it was decided that a high-level Committee would be constituted to work out the modalities for transfer of the said land. The Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, was tasked to identify an alternate patch of land for the Army in lieu for the land it was parting from, for expansion of Jammu University within the next three months.
Regarding the issue of expansion of Jammu Airport, the Chief Minister was informed that the impediments had been removed for its much-needed extension. The Divisional Commissioner informed the Chief Minister that the Army is on board to vacate the land in proximity to Jammu Airport, for which sanction of Ministry of Defence is awaited.
While deliberating upon the issue of vacation of Tattoo Ground in Batmaloo in the heart of Srinagar by the Army, Sayeed indicated delinking it from all other issues while stressing on expediting the process. This, the Chief Minister said, would enable the government to develop basic facilities at Tattoo Ground in the interest of general public.
The meeting also took a decision to expedite the issue pertaining to land at High Ground at Anantnag in south Kashmir, held by the Army, for which a timeline of three months has been fixed, the spokesman said. Sayeed observed that the land at High Ground is required for expansion of University of Kashmir's South Campus as well as developing a new housing colony to de-congest the town. On the issue of land held by the Army at famous hill resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir, it was decided that the high-level Committee constituted in the matter will expedite modalities to settle the issue.
The meeting also deliberated upon the issue of vacation of Lower Khurbathong by the Army in Kargil region of Ladakh region, the spokesman said.
He said it was decided that a high-level Committee of Army, Air Force and the Ladakh Hill Development Council, Kargil, will be constituted to hold deliberations with the stakeholders and give final recommendations to the state government within the shortest possible time.
With a view to de-congesting Kargil town, LAHDC Kargil has planned development of a new housing colony in Lower Khurbathang, which is currently held by the Army. Regarding the issue of 1,82,865 kanals (9143.25 hectares) of land with the Army in Ladakh, it was decided that the Army and the Civil Administration will reconcile figures so that further course of action could be initiated in the matter.
Regarding de-mining of areas along the International Border and the Line of Control in Samba, Jammu and Rajouri districts, the spokesman said Army was requested to secure areas, in particular those which are adjacent to the farm or fields of the local inhabitants.
"It was also decided that a joint survey of the cultivable areas, which have been rendered uncultivable, shall be conducted to work out quantum of compensation to be paid to the affected farmers by the MoD (Ministry of Defence)," he said.
On construction of various roads in Budgam, Kupwara and Poonch and other districts, he said it was mutually decided to expedite work so that connectivity to far-flung habitations is provided on priority.
These roads include Shunglipora to Sochalpathri and Srinagar Airfield to Gudsathoo in Budgam district, Thajal to Churanda, in Baramulla, Parrah to Amrohi in Kupwara, Sonamarg Bypass in Ganderbal and Kulali to Hill Kaka in Poonch, the spokesman said.
He said the Chief Minister was informed that Army is also examining the 91-kanal land referenced for re alignment to pave way for providing connectivity between SIDCO Phase I and II of its Industrial Growth Centre. Keeping in view the significance of Batote-Kishtwar-Sinthan Road, he said the Chief Minister called upon Border Road Organization (BRO) to maintain the vital stretch for improved connectivity.
The issue of notification and re-notification of field firing ranges were also discussed threadbare in the meeting, the spokesman said.