SRINAGAR: In a significant development, Army has decided to vacate about 300 acres of State land under its occupation at four places in Jammu and Kashmir by the end of this month.
“Army’s Northern command has agreed to hand over 16.30 acres of state land held by it adjoining the campus of Jammu University; 212 acres of land held by it at Tatoo Grounds in Srinagar; 57.07 acres at High Grounds, Anantnag in South Kashmir and land held at lower Khurba Thang in Kargil in cold desert of Ladakh,” an official spokesman said.
The decision was taken during a meeting held between State Governor N N Vohra and Army’s Northern command chief Lt Gen D S Hooda at Raj Bhavan in Jammu last evening. Top civil officials of the State also attended the meeting.
During the meeting, it was agreed by Northern Command chief that the land at the lower Plateau Khurba Thang would be handed over to civil authorities before March 31, when Chief Secretary visits Kargil, as Chairman of the Committee set up to deal with all Army Key Location Plan matters.
The land adjoining the campus of Jammu University, Tatoo Ground in Srinagar and High Grounds, Anantnag would be handed over to civil authorities by the army before March 31.
According to official spokesman, Governor Vohra and Northern command chief Lt Gen D S Hooda will jointly visit the site at Tatoo Ground in Srinagar before March 31 to discuss certain proposals regarding the utilisation of the vacated land for creating a park, recreational facilities for youth etc.
The Governor directed that the committee headed by the State Chief Secretary shall visit Jammu University, Kargil and Anantnag to satisfy all formalities on the spot and take over the said sites.
Vohra also reviewed all other decisions and arrived at certain understandings with the Army Commander in regard to the location of HAWS in the Gulmarg Bowl.
An official spokesman said Governor shall shortly have a further meeting in this regard with the Army Commander.
“During the meeting, Vohra and Lt Gen D S Hooda also discussed all cases relating to regularisation of certain lands and buildings held by the Army. Further action on these decisions will be taken before May 31, 2016,” he said.
The meeting also discussed issues relating to notification of firing ranges at various places.
The spokesman said it was decided that J&K Chief Secretary shall pursue the pending issues with the Ministry of Defence, especially regarding the enhancement of the scales of rent payable for the required areas of land.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is presently engaged in talks with BJP leadership on government formation in the State, has been demanding vacation of land occupied by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
The PDP chief, who was tipped to take over as Chief Minister after the death of her father and former CM Mufti Sayeed on January 7 this year, is also demanding withdrawal of AFSPA from some peaceful areas of the State, return of some NHPC run power projects to the State, resumption of talks with separatists, no unnecessary interference in state affairs by the central government and release of more central funds to the State.