Over 16,000 kanals allotted land found unsuitable for development of industrial estates in J&K UT

I&C Deptt approaches Govt for alternate land patches expeditiously

*Non-seriousness of previous Govt leads to present situation

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Feb 2: Over 16,000 kanals of land, which was allotted to Industries and Commerce Department in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir for development of industrial estates few years back, has been found unsuitable because of various reasons and the same has been returned to the Government with the request to provide alternate and appropriate land patches as early as possible.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that the PDP-BJP Coalition Government in the year 2018-19 had decided to develop more industrial estates in Jammu and Kashmir particularly in those areas which were lagging behind in industrialization even after having huge potential. Accordingly, the Deputy Commissioners were directed to identify the State land after detailed exercise so that sufficient land bank could be created for the industrial estates.
Finally, a total of 104 land patches were transferred to the Industries and Commerce Department for development of industrial estates through Jammu and Kashmir State Industrial Development Corporation (JKSIDCO) and J&K Small Scale Industries Development Corporation (SICOP). Recently, on the instructions of the Government, the SIDCO and SICOP started survey of land patches in order to start the ground work.
Much to the astonishment of everyone, during the survey by the engineers of SIDCO and SICOP it came to the fore that 70% of the transferred land cannot be utilized in any way for the development of industrial estates. In 47 patches the engineers have found hilly tracts with around 80% gradient, forest areas, Ghair Mumkin Khads etc, sources informed. Accordingly, the situation was brought to the notice of the Industries and Commerce Department, which has administrative control over SIDCO and SICOP.
As advised by the Principal Secretary to the Government, Industries and Commerce Department, a total of 16,000 kanals of unsuitable land in these 47 patches has been returned to the Government and request has been made for allotment of alternate patches so that industrial estates could have sufficient land bank, sources further informed, adding it has also been conveyed to the Government that in view of hilly tracts and steep gradients the cost of development of land in the industrial estates would be extremely high in comparison to the cost at which the land will be allotted for setting up of industrial units.
“It has further been requested to the Government that while identifying alternate land patches the concerned authorities of the Revenue Department particularly the Deputy Commissioners should keep in mind that the land should be free from all encumbrances so that Industries and Commerce Department doesn’t face any difficulty”, sources said, adding “though the process of identifying the alternate land has already been set into motion yet no time-frame can be specified for the completion of task”.
Had serious attention been paid by the Deputy Commissioners while identifying the land in the year 2018-19, SIDCO and SICOP would have developed the land patches as part of the industrial estates till date, they said, adding the PDP-BJP Government was more interested in creating the hype about allotment of such a huge chunk of land for the industrial estates instead of ensuring detailed and careful land identification exercise.
How can any Deputy Commissioner recommend forest area, Ghair Mumkin Khad and hilly tracts for development of industrial estates remains a million dollar question, sources said, adding “even those who had obtained the approval from the Government for transfer of identified land to the Industries and Commerce Department should have examined the physical status of the identified land well in time”.
When contacted, an officer of the Industries and Commerce Department confirmed that 16,000 kanals of land has been found unsuitable for the development of industrial estates. “The matter is being vigorously pursued with all the concerned authorities so that there remains sufficient land bank in all the industrial estates without which much needed impetus cannot be given to the industrialization”.