The government of Jammu and Kashmir has leased twenty-five kanal land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) for the building of the board’s office and Yatri Nivas in the Pantha Chowk district of this capital city for an annual rent of Rs 250.
The revenue department issued an order on Friday, August 20, sanctioning the Shrine Board’s lease of 25 Kanal land for a period of 40 years from the date of taking possession.
“Sanction is hereby accorded to the grant of land measuring 25 kanal situated at village Panthachowk, district Srinagar, in favour of the SASB for construction of office and Yatri Niwas on lease basis for a period of 40 years from the date of taking over the possession,” the order issued by the Principal Secretary to the government, Shaleen Kabra read.
The order also read that SASB will pay a nominal ground rent of Rs 10/- per kanal per annum without charge of any premium subject to the condition that the land shall be used only for the purpose for which it is granted.
“The allotment/ lease shall be governed under the Jammu & Kashmir Land Grants Act 1960 and the rules made there under,” it added.
The order further stated that the lease document will be signed by Srinagar’s Deputy Commissioner on behalf of the government.
It is pertinent to note here that the revenue department’s order comes just two weeks after Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha lay the foundation for the office-cum ‘Yatri Nivas’ here on August 6. During the ceremony, the LG announced that a similar facility to accommodate as many as 3200 yatris will also be built in the Chanderkote village in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir. The new facility, coming up at Pantha Chowk in Srinagar, is expected to be built in the next 18 months.
2008 Amarnath agitation in Jammu and Kashmir
It may be recollected how massive demonstrations had erupted across Kashmir in 2008 after the allotment of approximately 100 acres of forest land near the Amarnath cave site in the Sonamarg area of Ganderbal district. Several people were killed in Kashmir, while a counter-agitation in Jammu began against the cancellation of land allotment to SASB.
The decision to transfer the land sparked a rift in the PDP-Congress partnership, resulting in Ghulam Nabi Azad’s resignation as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Only when Governor N N Vohra overturned the land transfer order did the nearly five-month protest in Kashmir come to a conclusion.