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Bizarre: Industrial land allotted to Police, SSB for residential purposes

Bizarre: Industrial land allotted to Police, SSB for residential purposes
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Srinagar: Weird it may sound, but the state government has allotted industrial land at HMT Zainakote to Jammu and Kashmir Police and paramilitary SSB for housing purposes.

Pertinently, a Minister in the state has objected to the transfer of 246 kanals of industrial land to the police and SSB for constructing a housing colony.

The Minister of state for Industries and commerce, Asiya Naqash claimed that the Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce issued an order on his own over transferring of 246 kanals of industrial land to Jammu and Kashmir Police and SSB for construction of a housing colony.

Out of 527 kanal estate of erstwhile HMT factory, state government has allotted 246 kanals to J&K police for building a housing colony and 80 kanals to paramilitary SSB. The factory was closed in 90s after the onset of militancy in the state.

“The land was meant for unemployed youth to set up the industrial units. There is no industrial land available in Srinagar. I am not in favour of transferring industrial land to JK police and SSB for construction of the housing colony. The Commissioner Industries and Commerce has issued orders on his own,” Asiea Naqash, Minister of state for industries and commerce told a local news gathering agency.

She said Chief Minister had said that government may consider transferring 126 kanals of land to JK police. “I don’t know who issued the orders for transferring of 246 kanals of land to police,” she said.

However, Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce, Shailendra Kumar claimed that the construction of a police colony at erstwhile HMT land is “a cabinet decision which has been implemented”.

As per a government order, J&K’s Industries and Commerce Department has allocated 246 kanal of land to Police Department for construction of a housing colony in lieu of due payment.

Earlier in 2010, on the directions of then chief minister Omar Abdullah, the industries and commerce department had constituted a high-level committee comprising managing director SICOP, MD-SIDCO and Director Industries Kashmir “to look into the land issue.”

The committee had recommended use of the factory land for industrial purposes, stating it would generate job opportunities for more than 1000 unemployed youth.

After Jammu and Kashmir Government recently retrieved back erstwhile HMT Factory premises from the possession of Union Ministry of Heavy Industries, 246 kanals of the industrial land has now been transferred to J&K Police for constructing of a housing colony, while 80 kanal have been allotted to paramilitary SSB for construction of sector headquarters.

Naqash said that KCCI has also raised the issue with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. “This is industrial land and it shall be provided to unemployed youth for setting up the units. The Chief Minister is considering on it,” she said.

She said that the sole purpose of retrieving the HMT land and allotting to the prospective industrialists was to accommodate the technocrats and graduate engineers so that the employment generation is ensured.

Meanwhile, trade body Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) has flagged the issue.

“The KCCI has since three decades been demanding from successive governments retrieval of the HMT land for catering to the needs of local industry in the form of Gem and Jewellery Cluster including Gem and Jewellery Institute as also Integrated Textile Park and catering to local requirement,” KCCI said in a memorandum handed over to the CM.

“The state government has not only regularized the forcible occupation but gone one step ahead further by presiding over the butchering of any entrepreneurial hopes, the local business community and unemployed youth might have harboured. The local entrepreneurs shall now have to set up vibrant business enterprises at places not suitable for their activity. The state government has stabbed the local industry in the back,” the memorandum added. (KNS)

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