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Indian army makes move to purchase land in Kashmir

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Ground Report | Srinagar

Army has requested the state administration for permission to purchase 129 kanals of land in Jammu and Kashmir.

This is the first time in the last 70 years that the Army is buying land for any of its establishments in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, the army had been taking land and buildings on lease basis or on rent only for its establishments.

The Army’s 19 Infantry Division’s Ordinance Unit has written a letter on 26 May expressing a desire to purchase 129 kanals of land in Tappar Pattan in North Kashmir. In this regard, the state administration has requested a reply till May 30.

It is written in the letter that many of the personnel of his unit are temporarily staying in Kariri High Ground Taparwari. Therefore, it is requested that the said land be sold to the Indian Army. However, Tehsildar S.

Sallahudin of Pattan said that no such letter has come to me. However, SDM Pattan Saeed Nasir Ahmed said, “I only know that the military administration has requested in a letter.”

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The Central Government had told in Parliament last year that various departments and organizations associated with the Ministry of Defense in Jammu and Kashmir have 18935.474 acres in Jammu, 3737.845 acres in Srinagar, 2326.644 acres in Budgam, 2152.83 acres in Anantnag and 3529.871 acres in Udhampur.

It is perhaps for the first time that the Army has directly written to the department concerned for purchasing land in the Valley.

Prior to the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year, the defence estates officer would write to Jammu and Kashmir government for getting lease of the land required by the Army.

What is Article 370?

Article 370 deals with special rights conferred upon the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It allows the state constituent Assembly to make its own Constitution, own flag, own rights thereby giving it an “autonomous state” power.

After the accession of the state to India in 1947, Article 370 served as a “mechanism for managing Centre-state relations with specific reference to Jammu and Kashmir,” senior journalist, late B G Verghese, had said in his book ‘A J&K Primer’.

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Apart from the autonomy, Article 370 also lends other powers such as the need of “concurrence of the state government” if the central government plans to make amendments to the concurrent list of subjects.