Jammu: Stringent provisions are already in place under various laws regarding conversion of agricultural land for non-agriculture purposes and a comprehensive housing policy is needed to check illegal activity in this regard, Jammu and Kashmir government Tuesday said.
Replying to a Calling Attention Notice in the Legislative Council, Minister of State for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Ajaz Ahmed Khan said it was a fact that strict provisions were already in place.
The Land Revenue Act, J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, Prohibition on Conversion of Land and Alienation of Orchards Act were some of the laws regarding conversion of agricultural land for non-agriculture purposes.
However, keeping in view developmental activities like construction of roads, bridges, acquisition of land for Railways and other public purposes, lot of unavoidable conversion had taken place during the past few years, he said.
Despite the strong legislations, there were instances where illegal conversion of agricultural land had taken place. This has mainly occurred due to non-existence of a comprehensive housing policy in the state, he said.
As and when such a policy comes into force, the instances will automatically be checked, he added.
The unauthorised conversion of agricultural land is mainly taking place in and around urban areas and its suburbs, whereas it is nominal in rural areas.
Along the National Highway, the change of agricultural land for non-agricultural use is due to the commercial potential of the plot.
However, compared to the quantum of agricultural land which has been acquired for various public purposes throughout the state, the conversion for private ones is much less.
All such conversions are not illegal because in a good number of cases, permission has been obtained from the competent authority, he said.
He also said instructions have been issued to revenue field agencies to ensure implementation of the land laws in letter and spirit, so that illegal change of agricultural land does not take place.