HC directs admn to check agricultural land conversion

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Apr 4: High Court today directed the Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir valley to stop conversion of agricultural land into residential colonies in their districts and asked them to explore possibility of accommodating the increasing population on modern lines.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Mansoor Ahmed Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magray passed the directions on a Public Interest Litigation titled Human Watch International versus State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Human Watch International had filed the PIL seeking directions regarding the agriculture land conversion into residential housing colonies in violation of law including J&K Land Revenue Act, J&K agrarian Reforms Act and other Land Laws.
“Given the importance of the issue raised in the PIL, the orders are made applicable to the entire Kashmir province,” the DB said.
The DB also directed Deputy Commissioner Pulwama ato ensure that usage of land for cultivation of famed saffron in and around Pampore is not changed in any manner and the lands are preserved and reserved for cultivation of saffron only.
“We deem it appropriate to direct the Deputy Commissioner (Collector), Budgam, to ensure that the provisions of Section 13 of the Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act and Section 133-A and 133-B of the J&K Land Revenue Act were implemented in letter and spirit.
The Court said Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Vice Chairman Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) and Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) should strictly comply with the directions passed by court from time to time and ensure that no such constructions are allowed to be raised.
The court ordered all concerned to comply with the directions passed by it and to file their respective status/ compliance reports by or before the next hearing and any deviation by any functionary against the directions will be viewed seriously.