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Non-residents bought 7 plots of land in J&K since ban was lifted, all in Jammu: Govt tells RS

Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai gave this information in the Rajya Sabha in response to a question by Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Jharna Das Baidya.

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New Delhi: Only seven plots of land have been purchased in Jammu and Kashmir by people from outside the union territory since restrictions were lifted last year, the government said in Parliament Wednesday.

“As per the information provided by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, a total of seven plots of land have been purchased by persons from outside the UT of Jammu and Kashmir,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said in a written reply to a question by Communist Party of India (Marxist) Rajya Sabha MP Jharna Das Baidya.

Rai also said that all seven plots were in the Jammu division. 

Baidya had asked about the status of the purchase and sale of land in Jammu and Kashmir  — barred to non-domiciles until October 2020 — and whether anyone from outside the union territory had been able to buy land there.   

Replying to another question from Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha on whether there was a timeline to grant statehood to the union territories of J&K and Ladakh, Rai said, “statehood to Jammu and Kashmir would be granted at an appropriate time”. 

Restrictions on non-residents lifted after loss of special status

Before Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution was withdrawn on 5 August 2019, the state assembly was constitutionally empowered to define who was a resident. Only those defined as such were eligible to apply for jobs or own property in the erstwhile state. 

After the abrogation of special status, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019,  bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories — J&K and Ladakh.

In October 2020, the government issued a notification saying that any Indian citizen could now buy land  — other than agricultural land — in municipal areas of Jammu and Kashmir without being a domicile.

At the time, the Ministry of Home Affairs said this order — the ‘Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020’ — would come into force with immediate effect, and would “encourage development in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir”. 

Under the notification, the spouse of a J&K domicile was for the first time also deemed a domicile. Children of central government officials posted for over 10 years in J&K would also continue to be considered domiciles.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

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