Srinagar: Locals in many districts of Kashmir, especially in Srinagar, are worried as revenue officials were busy in the recent past in identifying land for the establishment of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camps. These fears have multiplied on the ground both in Jammu and Kashmir after recent amendments to the land laws, enabling any outsider to purchase land in the entire Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir without any hassle or process which was to be observed earlier.
In the past few weeks, revenue officials of the UT administration in Kashmir valley have been busy identifying land for the CRPF as they have asked for land in many districts of Kashmir, including Srinagar.
“Revenue officials in Chitterhama and Khimber highlands of Srinagar have identified over 500 kanals of land for CRPF. They want to hand it over to them without any further delay,” said Ghulam Muhammad Ganai of Khimber. Ganai said that it was their land, now the government wants to take it back.
Told that revenue officials have maintained that they were only identifying state land, locals of Khimber and Chitterhama said that it was the land for grazing of their animals.
Senior officials of the revenue department, who did not want to be named, said that the CRPF has sought land in entire Jammu and Kashmir for establishment of permanent camps for their forces as they have been deployed here and need to build better infrastructure for their troops.
According to some media reports from Delhi, a meeting was held in the Home Ministry and the UT administration of Jammu and Kashmir was asked to identify and transfer land to CRPF as soon as possible for the establishment of Battalion Camping Sites or BCSs in both divisions of the Union Territory.
UT administration officials further said that they have received request for seeking of land from CRPF and it would be handed over as soon as the process is complete.
In its request, the CRPF has said that the majority of the CRPF camps, both in Jammu and Srinagar, were in makeshift places and they do not have the capacity to house battalion headquarters. In order to get permanent camps established in all the key places, especially in Kashmir valley, the process of identification of land was in progress.
While the government has remained tight-lipped about this project in Kashmir valley, a senior official, on the condition of anonymity, said that in the battalion headquarters, the CRPF has the proposal to provide family accommodation or holiday homes for their jawans and officers to address the issue of “troop morale and separation from their families”.
With the latest amendments to the land laws, CRPF, BSF and other paramilitary forces do not need to go through a process of sending requests to the UT administration as they can acquire the land with the simple procedure of identifying it as “strategic” before the Deputy Commissioner of the district concerned. Even the army can identify any land as “strategic” and get it transferred to them.
Reports said that the CRPF wants to establish such locations in Kashmir at 20 places almost in all the districts and have requested for nine locations in the Jammu region.
In Srinagar and Ganderbal districts, reports said that the revenue officials have identified land for CRPF, but there is no confirmation officially from the revenue authorities on this subject. When contacted, most of them did not want to talk on the issue.