The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed concern at the decision of the Governor’s Administration to lease out 60 kanals of industrial land to the Security Forces.
A spokesperson of the KCC&I stated that the business community of the State was suffering due to the non-availability of land. The KCC&I is on record to have asked the Government, time and again, to retrieve land wasted under the occupation of Government Public Sector Undertakings (PSU’s) and make the same available for industrial/commercial use.
It was surprising that instead the Government had recently announced that it was in the process of identification of land for creation of small Satellite Industrial Estates of around 40 kanals, whereas huge chunks of prime industrial land were being converted into camps and residential quarters for security forces.
Already more than 300 kanals of land belonging to the Zainakote Industrial Estate was transferred to different wings of the State and Central Security Forces. This land was retrieved from the erstwhile Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) group in the year 2017.
The decision also ignores the objections raised by City Planners in the just notified Master Plan- 2035 for the Srinagar Metropolitan Region. It would be pertinent to reproduce portions of Para 7.6 of Page 69 of the Plan which read as under:
“ As per the existing land use, the defence use is spread over an area of 23.0 Sq km. Including many military and paramilitary establishments. The widespread existence of military and paramilitary establishments across Srinagar has actually surpassed its area under public infrastructure. The statistics reveal that there is more area occupied by defence use than the area used for the development of District, Divisional and State level public and semi-public infrastructure. The indiscriminate dispersal of defence establishments in every nook and corner of the city including the civilian areas is construed as a major impediment in city development. Adopting the guidelines of the Ministry of Defense, the situation will become more grim causing undesirable strain on urban infrastructure”.