Govt plans land bank in J&K for investors: report

The central government is in the process of identifying land suitable for setting up factories and other business establishments in Jammu and Kashmir with a view to create a land bank amidst a rush of investors seeking base in the state.

Reports say as many as 17,000 kanals of land has been identified so far while local authorities have been asked to identify and set apart state land for creation of a ‘land bank’.
While investment by outsiders was not allowed in J&K earlier, the removal of Article 370 has made the state attractive for investors across the country and from outside.
Ravinder Kumar, managing director of the State Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) said at least 10,000 kanals of land has been identified in Kathua and Samba districts of Jammu and another 5,000 to 7,000 kanals have been earmarked in Ganderbal, Kupwara and some other districts of Kashmir.
“There is some land in Vessu (in Anantnag) also,” Kumar told the Wire, adding that the process for identifying land has been ongoing for some time now.
Kumar said the government has issued directions to all district commissioners, both in Jammu and Kashmir, to submit details about the state land available in their jurisdictions.
“We have enough land in both the regions,” he said, but added that so far no land has been handed over to any of the outside companies.
While Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution granted special rights to locals, the provisions were a “hurdle” to the development of Jammu and Kashmir and in attracting outside investment.
This also prevented outsiders from buying land, owning property or applying for jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. This has been done away with the centre reading down both the Constitutional provisions on 5 August and bifurcating the state into the two union territories of J&K and Ladakh. The two units came into existence on 31 October.
Since then, Kumar said, the state Industrial Development Corporation (SIDCO) has received expressions of interest (EoI) from at least 39 outside companies. These companies, according to the official, have shown interest in investing in different sectors in J&K, including apple industry, cold storages, dry fruit and saffron industries, and tourism and hotel industries.
“All of them have submitted detailed project proposals, including land required, to set up their businesses,” said Kumar. “But things are at the preliminary stage and so far, no project has been cleared.”