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J&K throws open local real estate to all citizens of country

Offers ‘second homes and summer homes’; major push to attract investments

The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory governments, at the first ever ‘J&K Real Estate Conference’ held in Jammu on Monday, have decided to throw open local real estate for “second homes and summer homes” to all the citizens of the country, in a major push to attract investments from real estate bigwigs.

According to the official summit document, Jammu and Kashmir has become a promising yet untapped destination for the next wave of growth and prosperity. “Under the newly introduced Jammu and Kashmir Development Act, the term ‘being permanent resident of the State’ as a criterion has been ‘omitted’, paving the way for investors outside Jammu and Kashmir to invest in the Union Territory. As a result, any citizen of India can buy non-agriculture land in Jammu and Kashmir,” the document said.

Changes in land laws

The administration undertook a series of changes in the land laws in the past two months, including using private land for industrial purposes and converting agriculture land for developmental projects.

One-stop portal

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, speaking during the summit, said, “To facilitate transparent and accountable framework in the real estate sector, we have launched many portals — RERA portal, housing portal, integrated auction portal. Such initiatives will help both developers and home buyers as one-stop portal for all their needs.”

Mr. Sinha said there were people who did not want Jammu and Kashmir to develop at par with other parts of India. “They want industries without giving land for it and development without investments. But we will break all walls that will come in the way of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Lieutenant Governor said.

Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said a large-scale infrastructure development, denied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir earlier, was now possible. “By combining rich natural resources with external investment and technical expertise, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir will now have access to a higher quality of life.”

39 MoUs signed

The Jammu and Kashmir government has signed 39 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the National Real Estate Development Council “to boost employment and per capita income”.

“The NAREDCO will train 10,000 workers in various skills of the construction industry, electrical, plumbing, masonry, carpentry and the likes,” the Lieutenant Governor said.

Srinagar will also host a ‘Real Estate Summit’ on May 23 in 2022. As per the government estimates, the projected indigenous housing demand in Jammu and Kashmir is 2.5 lakh dwelling units, out of which 30% is in urban areas.

Parties slam move

Reacting sharply to the real estate policy, Jammu and Kashmir regional parties, including the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the J&K Apni Party alleged “bid to change Jammu and Kashmir’s demography.”

“Once again the true intentions of the government are brought to the fore. While offering to secure the land, jobs, domicile laws and identity of the people of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir is being put up for sale. People of Jammu should beware, ‘investors will buy up land in Jammu long before Kashmir,” former Chief Minister and NC vice-president Omar Abdullah said.

Former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, “Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was illegally revoked to de-humanise, dispossess and disempower the only Muslim majority State in India. The Government of India’s brazen loot and sale of our resources show that the sole motive is to annihilate our identity and change the demography”.

J&K Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari said the effort that was aimed at a holistic development and job creation was welcome “but not at the cost of domicile laws that safeguard land and employment rights of its permanent residents”.

“The Apni Party wants to make it crystal clear that we will always resist any such proceedings that are against the domicile law,” he added.

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