A new development comes along the way as the laws of the Centre related to land acquisition are being extended to the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir.
In another significant move, that follows J&K administration giving a nod to an amendment in the Control of Building Operations Act, 1988 and the J&K Development Act, 1970 so as to provide for a special exception to the armed forces to carry out construction activities in “strategic areas”, the UT Revenue Department of J&K has withdrawn its 1971 circular that requires the central forces to seek a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Home Department of J&K for acquisition and requisition of land.
“In view of the extension of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 to the UT of J&K, the circular No. Rev(LB) 71/13-A dated 27.08.1971 which prescribed obtaining of No Objection Certificate from the Home Department for Acquisition/Requisition of land in favour of Army, BSF/CRPF and similar organisation, is hereby withdrawn,” as stated in an order issued by the UT’s Revenue Department on July 24.
All such acquisition shall be now overseen by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The administration of Jammu and Kashmir did have to clarify all the air around the approval of the above-mentioned amendment regarding allowing construction activities in “strategic areas” after they faced a lot of backlash for giving a go to the amendment. Claims were made with regards to this being an “attempt to militarise” the area and discontent were shown vis-a-vis the demographic changes that might take place.
Refuting the assertions made by political parties the in the wake of this new amendment, the administration of the UT had cleared that the changes made to allow for a special dispensation or regulation of construction work carried out by Armed Forced in “strategic areas” was required for their “ direct operational and training requirements”.
Adding to their clarification the administration noted that there is no decision that has been made regarding either transfer of any new land or declaring any new land that lies outside the army land or cantonments as strategic areas. They even cleared that all the matter that is related to the transfer, acquisition, and requisition will be continued to be governed by existing laws and norms on the subject.
According to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 Naval, Military, Air Force and the Armed Forces of the Union which is inclusive of the Central Parliamentary Forces can acquire land for any work that is vital to national security or defence of India or State Police or the safety of people. The Act further states that, when it comes to the acquisition of land that lies in a Union Territory (UT), excluding Puducherry here, the Central Government is the appropriate authority for the acquisition of land.
In addition to this, the J&K administration has sternly asked the Collectors of land acquisition in all districts that are designated under the Right to Fair Compensation Act, and the Competent Authority Land Acquisition (CALA) under the National Highway Act, 1956 to only process cases with regards to acquisition or requisition in accordance with these two Acts and the Rules made thereunder.
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