J&K agricultural land: Transfer to outsiders and non-agriculturists is now illegal
The laws have been modified in line with those in states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand
The government has barred the transfer of agricultural land of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to any outsider and repealed around 11 such outdated land laws and modified four existing laws in major land reforms since the abrogation of Article 370.
According to the new laws, no agricultural land can be transferred to “any person from outside the UT of J&K but can only be sold to an agriculturalist from within J&K”. They clearly specify that “no land used for agricultural purpose can be used for non-agricultural purpose”.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Principal Secretary Information and Government Spokesperson Rohit Kansal said that the new laws will not only protect over 90 per cent of the land in the UT from being given to outsiders but will also revamp the agricultural sector in J&K.
The government has repealed several laws that were either ‘redundant or obsolete’; additionally, the definition of agriculture in these laws has been extended to horticulture and allied agricultural activities.
After the changes, there have been reactions from political parties and others that Jammu and Kashmir did not provide protection like in other states. Today's detailed statement by the government is intended to put such fears and speculations to rest.
The new provisions not only address the infirmities in the old set of laws but also provide for modern and enabling provisions to aid in the agricultural and industrial growth of Jammu and Kashmir, Kansal pointed out.
The progressive provisions of the repealed laws have been retained by including them in the modified Land Revenue Act.
Modifying the laws, the government said, “The New Land Laws are modern and progressive even while affording adequate protection against alienation of land to outsiders.”
The laws have been modified in lines with the already existing laws enacted and being practiced in other Indian states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the statement said.
The government has also added new provisions to modernise existing laws. There is now a provision to set up a Board of Revenue, Regional planning for regulating use of land, alienation and conversion, land lease, consolidation and contract farming
The laws which have been repealed by the government include the Common Land (Regulation) Act, 1956, Consolidation of Holding Act 1962, Land Improvement Scheme Act, 1972, Prevention of Fragmentation of Agricultural Holdings Act 1960, Alienation of Land Act 1995, Right of Prior Purchase Act Svt 1993, The J&K Flood Plain Zones (Regulation and Development) Act 2005, the Jammu and Kashmir Underground Public Utilities (Acquisition of Rights of User in land) Act 2014, Tenancy (Stay of Ejectment Proceedings) Act 1966, the Jammu and Kashmir Utilisation of Lands Act, Big Landed Estates Abolition Act 1950 and Prohibition of Conversion of Land and Alienation of Orchards Act 1975.
Apart from that, the government has also modified four land laws. They are Agrarian Reforms Act 1976, Land Revenue Act Svt 1996, Lands Grants Act 1960 and Jammu and Kashmir Development Act 1970.
According to Kansal, the repealed laws “were made to serve the old agrarian economy and were required to be modified for modern economic needs”.