Altaf Bukhari takes strong exception to change in land use policy

‘Policy decisions should be left to an elected government’

Srinagar, Dec 18 : Taking a strong exception to the recent changes in land use laws announced by the Jammu and Kashmir Government, Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Saturday demanded immediate rollback of the decision that he said ‘is loaded with far reaching consequences’.

Referring to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s parliament speech, Bukhari said in a statement that the agricultural land in Jammu and Kashmir is supposed to be safeguarded by the government against any kind of fiddling with its land use status.

He regretted that many arbitrary decisions including the recent one on land use policy have been rolled out resulting in an unwanted increase in the alienation among the people. “Such policy decisions are the prerogative of an elected government and the present dispensation should desist from taking such unilateral moves that put a question mark on its mandate,” Bukhari remarked.

He said that in view of the assurances given by the government of India from time to time in this regard and in light of the directions of the honorable Supreme Court and the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, no permission should be granted for conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes especially for the non domiciles of J&K.

“The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has also barred conversion of agricultural land in J&K in view of the fast shrinking agricultural land mass and its repercussions on overall crop production that has witnessed a drastic fall in the last many years,” he observed.

Bukhari said that the latest decision on land use policy will open floodgates for the non agricultural activities and will further increase the dependency of the people of Jammu and Kashmir on import of food-grains to manage their food requirements.

“There is no doubt the agriculture land utility in J&K has diminished during last few decades owing to the growing population and housing requirements but the government should at least ensure that in such circumstances the permissions in change of land use is not granted rampantly and more so, not in favour of the non-domiciles of J&K,” he remarked. (GNS)