Is  Kashmir Dependent?

In an editorial note, daily Nida-i-Mashriq writes that the process of changing the use of agriculture land into residential and commercial purposes has been going on for some time. The pressure of population may be the so called cause, but the reality is that vested interests and greed are responsible for that. It is not only the people who had land who are responsible, but the government and its machinery has connived on it.


Land use change:


“That in Kashmir, agricultural and cultivable land is being used for commercial purposes, is not anything new. The change of use of land has been going in for some time now. The governments came and left after completing the tenure, but no government gave any regard to the law regarding agriculture reforms in J&K and Land Revenue act. Why? Because these violations (of the act) directly affected the petty/vested interests of many. These are such interests on which depend the larger interests of the people especially state’s economy, and these are being sacrificed, and in future also no shame will be felt in sacrificing these interests. Of course population is increasing and the problem of housing is there. But nations or communities that have an eye on far-reaching consequences, don’t sacrifice the future for immediate gains. Whereas, for the disturbing situation, those who had/have property in the form of land are responsible but different departments of the government – revenue, local bodies, including municipalities. Lawda, etc are specifically responsible. It is no hypothesis or theory, that the officials of revenue department from Patwari to Tehsildar, have expertise in changing the land use of agriculture land. The obvious proof is that the cultivable land available fifty years back has shrunk in such a manner that to make an estimate, the needed documents that revenue department had completed fifty years back, are not available.


The New Initiative:


Recently Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar has issued order to all departments to give an account of the land that was agricultural, but is now being used for residential or commercial purposes. Well, the order is based on good intentions. The concerned officer has also talked about water bodies, where illegal encroachments stand or where there has been filling. Apparently, this mission won’t reach the conclusion. There are so many examples. Once Doodganga Canal passed through back of the city (Srinagar), where is it now? It has already been filled, and today dozens of government buildings stand on it, besides muncipal taxi stand, many mosques, dozens of shops, commercial houses etc. All these have patronage of politicians. Can the present Governor’s administration or the future coming governments dare to raze these buildings in order to retrieve the old water way.?”


The State of Dal Lake:


“For many years now, the state government has spent crores of rupees to restore the glory of Dal Lake. High Court also intervened and gave some guide lines on the issue. A clear order for restoring a green belt of 200 ft width around Dal Lake was issued. A plan was formed to remove illegal encroachments from Dal lake and a project of rehabilitation was  prepared for people living within the lake, in Boat colony and plots were reserved in Rakharth. Even compensation was paid in crores. But neither has Dal  been freed from illegal occupants, nor did the people being allotted resident plots feel grateful. In fact, they sold the plots and came back to lake and occupied its waters in the name of their kins. The government’s helplessness and the indifferent attitude of concerned department are the consequences of this corrupt system that has been nourished from 1947, because of considerations of political expediency. This system is being patronized. Are the district commissioners not in know of the fact that for mutation of land and other similar work, the  revenue department has made, a ‘rate list’?


Agriculture Products:


“Sometime back, Kashmir had its own agriculture products- food grains, vegetables, because land was available. A few things needed to be imported. There was public distribution system wherein foodgrains would be available on ration depots. But that system is gone. A path was adopted to end it by buying land from farmers on good price. Today Kashmir is dependent not only for foodgrains, rice, wheat, but vegetables and other edibles are got from other markets. In short, what is meant to convey is that we do not produce anything, anything substantial. Besides the change of land use, there is another reason i.e, work culture in Kashmir is deteriorating day by day. Kashmir is different now. For every work, we employ labour, skilled, unskilled from Bihar, Bengal, Chattisgarh, U.P. etc. Even ‘Wazawan’ – feast – is being got prepared from these people.”


[Courtesy: Urdu daily Nida-i-Mashriq, Srinagar, Kashmir, June 02, 2019].


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