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J&K Land reforms being opposed by disgruntled elements: Dr Jitendra Singh

NEW DELHI: Alleging that Jammu & Kashmir land reforms are being opposed by disgruntled elements, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said today that this bogey is being raised by those whose vote bank is feeling threatened.

In a series of interviews on different national TV channels, Dr Jitendra Singh hailed the new Notification as a welcome step. This will boost the economy of Jammu & Kashmir and at the same time, offer value - addition to the institutions of higher education. 

The earlier arrangement, he said, not only created a physical barrier but also caused a mental barrier to outsiders who were willing to contribute and invest but never had the feeling of belonging.

Responding to the allegation that "J&K is on sale" and that people from outside will come and buy bungalows and properties in Jammu & Kashmir, Dr Jitendra Singh asked, are the Gupkar bungalows on sale and is any of the residents of Gupkar Road allowing his bungalow to be taken over by somebody from outside? On a serious note, he said, it means that nobody can purchase a bungalow unless the owner is willing to sell it. 

He said, if the new notification allowed the freedom to grab or forcibly occupy a property in Jammu & Kashmir, as is being made out, then the Gupkar bungalows, being most likeable and situated in the most picturesque locality ,would have been first to be taken over by outsiders.

Clarifying further, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the right to buy property by outsiders in Jammu & Kashmir does not deprive the owner of the property in Jammu & Kashmir the right to decide whether to sell his or her property or not. On the contrary, he said, for any potential property seller in Jammu & Kashmir, the new arrangement offers a wider range and wider loop of buyers to decide as to whom to sell and at what price to sell.

Dr Jitendra Singh claimed that several potential investors are in a beeline, waiting to set up Units in Jammu & Kashmir and, in fact, ever since the abrogation of Article-370, they had been repeatedly approaching the government to expedite the process of issuing land notification so that they could go ahead with their entrepreneurship initiatives. In the times to come, he said, this will not only boost industry and business in Jammu & Kashmir but also create new avenues of employment and livelihood.

Rebutting the allegation by certain Kashmir - centric politicians that the new land reform is a threat to demography, Dr Jitendra Singh retorted saying that actually they are feeling the threat to their vote bank demography because over the years they had learnt to survive and thrive on a captive vote bank. If they are actually convinced about what they are saying, he asked, then why they did not allow voting rights to refugees from Pakistan even when Article-370 was in force and there was no threat to demography, as seen by them

Responding to charges regarding NIA raids today, Dr Jitendra Singh said that nobody enjoyed the impunity from law for misappropriation of funds or in anti-India activities simply because he or she happens to be associated with a certain NGO, a newspaper or a so called Human Rights Body.

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