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Why J&K’s real estate summit co-organised by Centre has annoyed local politicians?

Two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti alleged that the summit inviting investors was a step towards altering the region’s demography and annihilating its identity

December 29, 2021 / 11:20 AM IST
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah (File image)

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah (File image)


The Jammu and Kashmir administration signed 39 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth Rs 18,300 crore for investments in residential, commercial, infrastructure, and film sectors at a first-of-its-kind real estate summit in Jammu on December 27.

The government called the event organised by the Centre and the J&K administration a "historical milestone" in the real estate sector of the Union Territory and an important link to connect the UT to mainstream India.

The summit was attended by Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri; Union minister of state for prime minister's office Dr Jitendra Singh; Lieutenant Governor, J&K, Manoj Sinha; and others.

READ: Kashmir’s brave women: They are building businesses from scratch, wanting to be employers and not ‘the employed’

The event has, however, annoyed local politicians who allege it was a step towards altering the region’s demographic identity.

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“What happened on August 5, 2019 was not the end in itself. In fact, that was the beginning of a process to disempower and disenfranchise the people of the Muslim majority state. Their (BJP and RSS) eyes are set on the land of Jammu and Kashmir, on our resources, on our minerals. These orders that come one after the other are an attempt towards completion of their agenda,” Suhail Bukhari, spokesperson of Peoples Democratic Party told The Indian Express.

People not classified as 'permanent residents' were barred from purchasing or owning land before the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 that granted special status for J&K.

Of the 39 MoUs, 19 are related to the residential sector, eight for commercial projects and four for hospitality. The other three MoUs are for infrastructure, two for finance and three for the film and entertainment sectors.

The government said the event was aimed at encouraging people from different parts of the country to buy land or second homes in the UT.

Also, read: J&K Delimitation Commission proposes 6 more seats for Jammu, 1 for Kashmir, draws flak from Omar Abdullah

Union minister Puri said real estate, being the second-largest employer in the country, will create innumerable opportunities for economic growth in J&K.

But former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the summit a “brazen loot” aimed at annihilating the identity of J&K.

“J&K’s special status was illegally revoked to dehumanise, dispossess and disempower the only Muslim majority state in India. GOI’s brazen loot and sale of our resources shows that the sole motive is to annihilate our identity and change the demography,” Mufti said in a tweet.

Former chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah echoed her sentiments.

J&K L-G Sinha said a similar event will be held in Srinagar in May next year.

"Under the new J&K Development Act, the term 'being a permanent resident of the state' as a criterion has been omitted, paving the way for investors outside J&K to invest. As a result, any citizen of India can buy non-agriculture land in J&K": this is the agenda of the conference according to a report in NDTV.

Recently, the J&K administration changed land-use laws allowing re-classifying of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. In a response in Parliament, the Centre said recently that only seven plots of land had been purchased in J&K following the scrapping of special status.

The Altaf Bukhari-led Apni Party also criticised the move and said development of the region should not be at the cost of domicile laws. Apni party is considered close to the Centre.
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