Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], July 19 (ANI): The Department of Information and Public Relations of the Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday condemned the misinformation that was being spread regarding decisions taken to regulate construction in 'Strategic Areas' for Armed Forces and made clarifications regarding the same.
The Government had recently approved a special dispensation for regulating construction in "Strategic Areas", required by the Armed Forces for their direct operational and training requirements.
A press release by the Jammu and Kashmir government stated that misgivings had been expressed in the media regarding the decision.
"A few political parties are deliberately misleading people as if land is being transferred to Armed Forces and J&K is being turned into a military establishment. It is being alleged that new areas are going to be declared 'strategic' where laws regulating development will not prevail. All these are baseless comments being made without reading facts," the statement read.
The release emphasized the importance of proper knowledge of facts before disseminating false information.
"The decision has nothing to do with the transfer of any land to the Armed Forces. The transfer, both acquisition or requisitions, continues to be governed by the existing law and the norms on the subject. There is no decision to either transfer any new land or declare areas outside cantonments or army land as strategic. In fact, it is the stated policy of the Government to regulate and harmonize the requirement of land by the Armed forces to meet the competing demands of development and internal security," the release stated.
It further added that the decision was made because multiple issues commonly come up when building infrastructure for the Armed Forces, pertaining to their responsibilities at the J&K border.
"Multiple issues have commonly come up in the last few years in infrastructure development activities which are not only cumbersome and time-consuming, but at times go against strategic interests. Keeping in view the strategic importance of constructing such infrastructure within a defined timeframe, it has been felt that a special mechanism needs to be put in place for such strategic infrastructure needs. On the other hand, it is also important to ensure that whatever development takes place conforms to the overall developmental plan. It is with the above objective the Government has approved this special dispensation," it added.
The release asserted that in the notified 'Strategic Areas', within existing Armed Forces land, the responsibility of ensuring that construction activities are undertaken as per the Developmental Control Regulation of the Master Plan and all environmental safeguards are observed, and have been delegated to the Armed Forces themselves.
"Further, adequate safeguards have been kept to ensure that the provisions are not misused. Only an Army Authority, not below the level of a Corps Commander, could make a request to the Government for earmarking such areas as strategic only for direct operational and training requirements of Armed Forces," the release added.
The J and K government concluded the clarification, stating, "As would be seen, the special dispensation neither gives any powers to the Armed Forces to acquire more land in the Jammu & Kashmir nor does it allow them any unbridled powers, without observing environmental safeguards and Developmental Control Regulations of the Master Plan. It only facilitates fast tracking of the construction of strategic assets, in the overall national interest, while observing all norms." (ANI)