In the past few weeks, revenue officials in Kashmir have been busy identifying land for the establishment of camps for Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as they have asked the authorities for land in many districts of Kashmir, including Srinagar, The Sunday Guardian reported.
Quoting senior officials of the revenue department, who spoke to the Sunday newspaper on the condition of anonymity, the report said that the CRPF has sought land in entire Jammu and Kashmir for the establishment of permanent camps for their forces as they have been deployed here and need to build better infrastructure for their troops.
The move comes at a time when the Central government has recently notified new land laws which authorise the government to declare any location in J&K as a “strategic area” for direct operational and training requirements of armed forces.
The Union Territory administration officials, according to the report, said that they have received a request for seeking land from CRPF and it would be handed over as soon as the process is complete.
In its request, the CRPF has said that the majority of the CRPF camps, both in Jammu and Srinagar, were in makeshift places and they do not have the capacity to house battalion headquarters. To get permanent camps established in all the key places, especially in the Kashmir valley, the process of identification of land was in progress.
Citing media reports from Delhi, the report said a meeting was held in the Home Ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir administration was asked to identify and transfer land to CRPF as soon as possible for the establishment of Battalion Camping Sites (BCSs) in both divisions of the Union Territory.
While the government has remained tight-lipped about the move, a senior official, on the condition of anonymity, told the weekly that in the battalion headquarters, the CRPF has the proposal to provide family accommodation or holiday homes for their jawans and officers to address the issue of “troop morale and separation from their families”.
CRPF wants to establish such locations in Kashmir at 20 places almost in all the districts and has requested for nine locations in the Jammu region, the report said.
In Srinagar and Ganderbal districts, reports said that the revenue officials have identified land for CRPF, but there is no confirmation officially from the revenue authorities on this subject. When contacted, most of them did not want to talk on the issue.
However, the process seems to have already started. Like in Chitterhama and Khimber highlands of Srinagar where, according to the report, the revenue officials are said to have identified over 500 kanals of land for CRPF.
“They want to hand it over to them (CRPF) without any further delay,” the report quoted one Ghulam Muhammad Ganai of Khimber as saying. Ganai said that it was their land, now the government wants to take it back.
Told that revenue officials have maintained that they were only identifying state land, locals of Khimber and Chitterhama said that it was the land meant for grazing of their animals.