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JammuGovt announces comprehensive Land Use Policy

Govt announces comprehensive Land Use Policy


Policy to check rampant conversion of land

Srinagar, October 08: In a significant move of far reaching ramifications, the State Government has, for the first time, announced wide-ranging policy guidelines to check haphazard conversion of agriculture land for non-agricultural purposes.

As per the policy issued by the Revenue Department in this regard, while doing away with the discretionary powers, a comprehensive mechanism has been setup to be followed for change of land use.

The policy lays out a detailed mechanism right from enquiry on the application seeking conversion of agriculture land for non-agricultural purposes to the approval by the competent authority.

As far as change of land use in Municipal/Urban areas is concerned, the concerned development authority will have to forward the application to the respective Deputy Commissioners within two days for accord of permission in accordance with the land use specified in the Master Plan. However, in case of land falling outside the jurisdiction of Urban areas/Municipal Limits, the applicant can directly approach the Deputy Commissioner.

The Deputy Commissioner after obtaining reports from the revenue field agencies will place the case before the District Level Committee, which after considering the genuineness of the claim will give its recommendations to the Divisional Commissioner for further necessary action. The Divisional Commissioner will submit the case to the Administrative Department along with his opinion/recommendations.

In the policy, time-frame has been fixed for the District Level Committee as well as Divisional Commissioner for necessary action at their end.

It has explicitly been mentioned in the policy that no case will be processed for grant of permission for conversion of land which is used for cultivation of saffron; which is against the use specified in the Master Plan of any development authority; irrigated lands where the proposed change of land use is likely to obstruct, bisect or disturb any irrigation channel or any other source of irrigation of the surrounding land holdings etc.

No permission is required for change of the land use in respect of land except which is under cultivation of paddy, saffron and vegetable growing land for residential purposes subject to the maximum ceiling of two kanals prescribed in Section 13 of the Agrarian Reforms Act. However, utilization of the land falling within the municipal limits or within the jurisdiction of development authorities shall strictly be restricted to the land use specified in the respective Master Plan, the policy said.

In order to ensure that only genuine cases come up for conversion and revenue is generated for the Government, a fee has been fixed in the policy for change of the land use from agricultural to non-agricultural purposes. “The concerned land owner will be charged a fee equivalent to an amount of Rs 5 percentum of the value of the land notified for stamp duty for commercial purposes and at the rate of Rs 3 pecentum for residential and other purposes”, states the policy.

According to the Revenue Minister, due to conversion of agriculture land for non-agricultural purposes in a haphazard manner the agricultural husbandry was shrinking fast because of raising of housing colonies, factories, brick kilns, shopping complexes and other commercial establishments. He said though there are sufficient laws which prohibit or restrict the conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes but these laws don't provide comprehensive procedure to be followed for grant of permission for change of land use.

“Keeping all these aspects in mind and in order to avoid indiscriminate conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, the Revenue Department has come up with a uniform policy regarding change of land use,” he said.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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