JAMMU: Army will be vacating large tracts of land held by it at four places in Jammu and Kashmir, including the 212-acre Tatoo ground in Srinagar, by month-end, one of the demands by PDP for formation of government with BJP.
The decision was announced last night after a meeting between Governor N N Vohra and Lt Gen D S Hooda, GOC-in-C Northern Command, during which senior officials including Chief Secretary B R Sharma were present.
It was agreed that Northern Command of Army would 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, Srinagar and 456.60 kanals of land at High Grounds, Anantnag and land held at lower Khurba Thang in Kargil, to J&K government, an official spokesman said.
The decision is considered vital in the wake of demands by PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti that Army vacate land it has held and revocation of AFSPA from peaceful areas in Jammu and Kashmir as a confidence building measure ahead of formation of the government in J&K with BJP.
In extensive discussions with Hooda at the Raj Bhavan, the Governor reviewed the implementation of decisions taken in earlier Civil Military Liaison Conferences on all land matters relating to the Army, the spokesman said.
The meeting was attended by Sharma the Chief Secretary; P K Tripathi, Principal Secretary to Governor; R K Goyal, Principal Secretary, Home; Asgar Hassan Samoon, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; and Dr. Pawan Kotwal, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu.
It was agreed that the land at the lower Plateau Khurba Thang would be taken over 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 spokesman said.
The land at other three areas would also be handed over before March 31, the spokesman said.
Regarding the Tatoo Ground Land, the Governor and Army Commander will jointly visit the site before March 31 to discuss certain proposals regarding the utilisation of this land for creating a park, recreational facilities for youths etc, he said.
The Governor directed that the Committee headed by the Chief Secretary shall visit Jammu University, Kargil and Anantnag to satisfy all formalities on the spot and take over the said sites.
The Governor also reviewed other decisions and arrived at an understanding with the Army Commander on the location of HAWS in the Gulmarg Bowl. The Governor shall shortly have another meeting in this regard with the Army Commander.
The meeting also discussed all cases relating to the regularisation of certain lands and buildings held by the Army and decisions were taken to take further action in this regard before May 31, he said.
For this purpose, the Chief Secretary's Committee shall meet regularly till all the cases are settled, spokesman said.
The meeting also discussed issues relating to the notification of firing ranges at various places.
It was decided that the Chief Secretary shall pursue the pending issues with the Defence Ministry, particularly regarding the enhancement of the scales of rent payable for the required areas of land, spokesman said.