BARAMULLA: The conversion of agricultural land for commercial and residential purposes is increasing day-by-day at an alarming rate in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district as the government failed to check the conversion despite strict laws in place.
At a time when the National Food Security Act has been implemented in state, the rice fields in Kashmir are diminishing by conversion of Agriculture land for the construction of houses and commercial malls.
Large paddy fields separating the town from the nearby villages are now the sites of multi- storied commercial Complexes, Shopping malls, Schools and other residential Colonies.
Ishfaq Ahmad, a local resident said their needs to be an immediate curbs on this act as we are losing the agricultural land despite being an agrarian society,” he said “A threat is looming large as Kashmir shall be sans staple food in near future if the practice continues.”
He said not only the government but the civil society has to wake up from deep slumber and together the people have to discuss this grave issue and find solution to the problem. “The time has come when we should think about vertical growth to save the agriculture land,” he said. “Though vertical growth has also some drawbacks in mountainous region like Kashmir but we have to go for vertical growth at a certain limit which engineers will allow,” he added.
Dozens of new shopping complexes, commercial buildings have come up in different parts of the district in violation to the rules.
According to Jammu and Kashmir Economic Survey report 2014-15 , the estimated contribution of agriculture to State Gross Domestic Product (GSDP) has fallen from 28% in 2004-05 to 17%. The shortfall in food grains, which was 32% in 1950-51, is now 82 %.
The High Court (HC) has earlier pulled up the State government several times and directed the authorities to ensure that no conversion of agricultural land is allowed for commercial, residential and industrial purposes.
However figures reveal that authorities have miserably failed to follow the directions of the court.
Recently court directed government to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu to implement the orders in letter and sprite. (KNB)