In a major step forward, the J&K Administrative Council has given its nod to the amendment in the Control of Building Operations Act 1988 and the J&K Development Act, 1970 to provide for special exemption for carrying out construction activities in strategic areas across the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
This is a historic amendment and it will pave the way for identify and notify certain areas as ‘Strategic areas’ in terms of requirement of armed forces and in such areas, the regulation of construction activity shall be through a special dispensation only.
“The Administrative Council gave its nod to the proposal of amending the Control of Building Operations Act 1988 and the J&K Development Act, 1970 to provide for special dispensation for carrying out construction activities in strategic areas,” an official release said.
These amendments empower the government to define and notify a strategic area anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir, and that once a strategic area is notified, the existing authority would be replaced by a new authority on the pattern of the Armed forces cantonment boards.
The government release said that, the decision to amend the Act would facilitate construction of strategic infrastructure anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir. This approval has been granted keeping in view the strategic importance of certain locations and reconciling their security needs with developmental aspirations.
However, as expected, this step didn’t go down well with the Opposition parties. National Conference came down heavily and said that such a notification can change a disposition of a huge chunk of settlement overnight; hamper their economic activities and other dynamics of day-to-day life. National Conference said that Modi government is on a mission of ‘Land Grab’ in Kashmir.
Peoples Conference Leader Abdul Gani Vakil came down heavily on this move and said “that these moves are meant to alter, unrecognizably, the destiny of the people of Kashmir.”
On the other hand, PDP retorted this move and released a statement which says “This is scarier than the scrapping of special status. It seems we might not be left with enough land even for graveyard. It means no resident of Jammu and Kashmir has any power in determining even the basic functions of local government”. However PDP forgot that it is the same party which set few conditions before forming an alliance with BJP, and it forced Army to vacate several strategically important lands, including Tatoo Ground.
Well, we are in opinion that Jammu and Kashmir is a strategically placed important Union Territory. Armed forces should have power to identify and classify strategic areas and carrying out development and construction in such area. This amendment will ensure that no civilian construction will be allowed near a strategically important area, held by Armed Forces. Also, if any decision is hammered by PDP, NC and other opposition parties, we will consider it in favor of our Nation.
We hail this amendment by Jammu and Kashmir Administration, well supported by the Central Government, it will empower our Armed Forces and ensure better security to their strategic locations.