SRINAGAR: Despite the Central governments nod and approval to hand over the 300 Kanals of HMT land, currently under the occupation of CRPF, to the state, the J&K government has so far failed to retrieve it.
According to well placed sources, during the regime of NC and the Congress the government of India had decided to handover three hundred kanals of vacant land out of 527 kanals to state government along with the built-up area but the proposal remained in the files and no further action was taken.
Since the land falls within the Zainakote Industrial Estate, the Industries and Commerce Department had suggested that the land should be handed over to it for industrialization along with the built-up area, the senior official said and added that afterwards there was no further action either from the Industries department or from the state government.
The HMT watch factory was set up in 1971 at the Zainakote but subsequently the factory became defunct and dysfunctional and has been locked for last 25 years.
The official said that the HMT which exits at Zainakote Industrial Estate has a vacant land of 300 kanals, one built-up area and residential quarters. The I&C department could not proceed further in the matter as a result the vacant land was occupied by the CRPF and also has been encroached by the land grabbers.
Pertinent to mention residents of the area including Zainakote, Khosipora and Mustafa Abad have been protesting the presence of CRPF camp at the HMT land after the paramilitary personnel shot dead a local youth Gowhar Nazir there on November 7.
Residents have been joined by local legislators, including PDP MP Tariq Karra demanding eviction of the CRPF camp from the defunct factory premises.
As per the officials of the Industries and Commerce Department three hundred Kanals of vacant land if provided to the state government would generate employment for at least 2000 jobless youth and also would increased the economic condition of the local inhabitants.
Sheikh Ashiq, former president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that the state government is not interested in taking over the possession. I fail to understand why, despite the GOIs nod, the state government is not interested to take the possession of this prime land. If at all the government is serious then they should discuss the matter with the ministry of the home affairs to seek vacation of the land by paramilitary forces, he said.
Despite repeated attempts the Industries and Commerce minister Chandar Prakash Ganga was not available for comments.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.