New Delhi: A few hours after Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution to revoke Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, in Rajya Sabha Monday, messages to buy land in the Valley began doing the rounds on social media.
One such message that was claimed to be sent by a West Bengal-based real estate company — Eden Solaris City — went viral.
Some on Twitter were even offering to sell their properties in Jammu and Kashmir.
I am from #JammuAndKashmir and I own more than 300 kanals of land. Those who are interested kindly contact me.
— Dr. Pawan Dutta🇮🇳 (@drpwndutta) August 5, 2019
Pawan Dutta, who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, posted that he has over 300 kanals of land in J&K and those interested in buying the property must approach him. But, it came with a caveat: “Eligibility: Hindu or Sikh”.
Some users, on the other hand, were tweeting to enquire about property dealers in J&K.
Defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra tweeted, “Can someone recommend a good property agent in Kashmir? Pahalgam or Gulmarg is preferable, but open to other options”.
— #I'am Kamal (@Kamal1605) August 5, 2019
Another user posted: “How to buy land in Kashmir? Anyone knows any good real estate agents? We want to setup a kanwariya shivir near the house also, so please suggest one with easy access to roads. Thanks.”
The message claimed to have been sent by Eden Solaris City read: “Book your land at Kashmir Laal chowk Rd from 11.25 lacs with GST. Kashmir 370 removed. Limited stock! For more details call on 9019292918”.
The real estate agency has denied sending out the message and said it’s a scam.
“This is a fraud SMS, which has been sent to many people across the world, but we have no such property in Kashmir. This is a scam and we don’t know how the message was sent, we are trying to fix it,” Shira Roy, junior executive at Eden Solaris City, told ThePrint.
Roy said they realised it around 2 pm Monday when they were flooded with calls enquiring about the property. The company sells properties only in Bengal’s Serampore, Joka and Bonhooghly, she said.
‘Real estate in J&K could explode in coming months’
Notwithstanding the hoax messages doing the rounds, real estate experts ThePrint spoke to said land in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to become much sought-after now.
The Presidential order scrapping Article 370 is also likely to render Article 35A invalid. Article 35A gave J&K government the right to decide who qualifies as a permanent resident of the state and only those individuals were allowed to acquire or own land in J&K.
Pankaj Kapoor, founder and managing director of Liases Foras, a leading real estate data and research company, said the real estate market in J&K could potentially explode in the coming months.
“Kashmir has always been a huge tourist attraction, so it definitely has something to offer,” he said.
Talking about the land rates in J&K, Kapoor said: “The rates in the mainstream commercial markets in the state have always been so low, precisely because of these legal restrictions. The prevailing rate of properties in Srinagar is a far cry from even the rates in tier II and III cities in India. Land value needs to keep appreciating for the economy of a state to boom.”
However, the state also needs to develop some stability for people to actively buy land there, said Kapoor.
“Terrorism needs to go down and the environment needs to be made more conducive for people to seriously consider buying property in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
‘Too early to gauge impact on real estate in J&K’
Manish Sharma, managing partner of Utopia Consulting, a real estate consulting company, told ThePrint, that people are “sick” of the pollution in Delhi-NCR and moving to the hills is something many look forward to.
But, Arvind Nandan, managing director of Savills India, another real estate consulting firm, said such assessments couldn’t be made on the basis of a single day’s events.
“Theoretically, there is definitely a market available in the state now. But, when it comes to buying property, a multitude of factors play a role — from the sociopolitical context to the local developments in the state. It is too early to gauge what impact those (factors) will have on the real estate market,” he told ThePrint.