JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir government has notified the new Land Grant Rules-2022, bringing the tourism development authorities under the new rules, besides terminating all ongoing leases on land granted under the now repealed Land Grants Rules-1960.
The administration has expanded the leasing rules significantly in terms of territorial jurisdiction across the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, has removed the upper cap on land area, and has widened the purposes for which land could be leased, besides deciding to put all land packets to be leased, including the terminated ones, to on-line auction.
The new leases will be granted for a period of 40 years, against 99 years previously, except in certain special circumstances. It may also be mentioned here that the original 1960 Land Grants Rules were applicable with a radius of 13 Kilometers from Purani Mandi in Jammu and 16 from Shergarhi in Srinagar and all other Town Areas and Notified Areas.
Read J&K’s new Land Grant Rules here: J&K Land Grant Rules-2022
The UT administration has notified the Jammu and Kashmir Land Grant Rules-2022, announcing that all lessees including lease granted under the Land Grants Rules 1960, under Notified Area (All Development Authorities set in Tourism Sector) Land Grants Rules, 2007 and the leases expired or determined prior to the coming into force of these rules (LGR-1960 and NALGR-2007) or those issued under these rules, will not be renewed and would stand determined. These leases would soon be put to auction.
However, the government has clarified that the leases for the residential purposes, both subsisting as well as expired, are not under the ambit of this order. A separate policy for such leases executed under the Jammu and Kashmir Land Grant Rules,1960 will be notified later.
The government said that while the new rules would not be applicable to land which has been transferred to the Housing and Urban Development Department and its Agencies or to any other department of the Government, it has extended the new rules to the land transferred to or under the possession of Tourism Development Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir.
All leases terminated
The new land grant rules asked the outgoing lessees to immediately handover the possession of the land taken on lease to the Government, failing which lessee will be evicted as per the provisions of Public Premises (Eviction of un-authorized Occupant) Act, 1988.
“The outgoing lessees shall, however, be paid for any improvement carried out or structure constructed thereon at the value assessed by Executive Engineer, provided that the lessee has not violated any of the conditions of the lease,” the rules said.
However, the outgoing lessees for the leases granted under Land Grant Rules-2022 will not be entitled to, or paid for any improvement on the land including structure, and after expiry of the lease period, the land along with structure will vest in the government encumbrances, the new rules state, reasoning that the outgoing lessee will be fully aware and it will be inferred that he or she had recovered the cost spent on land improvement including structures during currency of the lease period.
No territorial limits, no cap on land area, no Domicile requirement
The new land grant rules are liberal in respect to the area of the land to be leased out. The previous act applied to Jammu city and its suburbs within a radius of 13 Kilometres from Purani Mandi; Srinagar city and its suburbs within a radius of 16 Kilometres from Shergarhi; all Town Areas and Notified Areas. While it covered the villages included within the limits of Municipalities, Town Areas or Notified Areas, it was not applicable to areas in villages recorded as ‘Abadi Deh’ under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act. Svt. 1996. The Land Grant Rules-2022 are applicable to the entire Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Read the now-repealed Land Grant Rules-1960 here: J&K Land Grants Act-1960
While the Land Grant Rules-2022 don’t make a specific mention of the maximum amount of land allowed to be leased out, the officials confirmed that the government will put to auction all sizes of land packets. In the Land Grants Rules Act-1960, only one plot of land measuring a maximum of two canals could be leased to a single family for residential purposes.
For leases other than residential purposes, there were a number of restrictions in the previous set of rules, the biggest being the requirement for lessees to be a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir.
A further amendment was made under which the government could relax this condition in the interest of industrial and commercial development, or in favour of a registered charitable society established for a non-profitable purpose or such registered educational institution of specialized higher education.
This, however, was applicable only for remote and backward areas of the State where the Government facilities in such a field were quite deficient.
The Land Grant Rules-2022 provide for leasing of land without any such restrictions.
New era, new areas for leasing
Unlike the previous act, the new land grant rules include a number of purposes for leasing the lands for constructing structure. The new rules state that the land could be leased for education, healthcare, agriculture and allied activities; tourism; skill development; development of traditional art, craft, culture and languages; hydro-electric projects; development of stadiums, playgrounds, gymnasiums or other recreational purposes; petrol pumps, gas pipelines, LPG bottling centers, fuel reservoir, next generation clean fuel sources CNG/CBG/ LNG/hydrogen fuel/ low Carbon fuel/any other clean fuel source with related activities/services/ utilities/infrastructures as per established norms/industry best practices; self-employment or for housing purposes of ex-servicemen, war widows, families of deprivation categories (as per latest socio-economic census), specially-abled Persons (Divyang), families of martyr (one who has sacrificed his life in the line of duty for the sake of nation), migrant workers/ building & other construction workers; rehabilitation of sufferers of natural disasters/ calamities; specific infrastructure projects for the development of infrastructure, industries, agriculture, tourism and employment generation; laying of water mains, pipes, underground cables, cause ways, underground bridges, cables, towers, poles, stay rods, stay rails for overhead cable and likewise.
“The land could be leased for any other purposes in the interest of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to be determined by the Government,” the new rules say.
Empowered committee and auction of lease
The new rules provide for the constitution of an Empowered Committee to be headed by Financial Commissioner, Revenue. This committee will have as its members, the Divisional Commissioner of Jammu, and Kashmir divisions, Commissioner, Survey & Land Records; Representatives of the Law Department, Revenue Department, l&C Department, Rural Development Department, Housing & Urban Development Department, Tourism Department, and Tribal Affairs Department– none below the rank of Additional Secretary, besides any other member as may be nominated by Government or co-opted by the Chairman or called as a special invitee.
The Empowered Committee will identify and designate the land and the purpose for grant of lease; recommend the period of grant of lease, which will ordinarily be for 40 years; monitor every lease agreement entered into and conditions thereof; and recommend to the Government for cancellation of any lease
The committee will forward a list of land packets, including Its market value and the purpose for which land Is to be granted on lease. Once approved by the government, the committee will convey the list to the concerned Deputy Commissioners, for auction through online mode.
After inviting the bids, the DC will conduct the auction of the land packet, with the bid starting from the Minimum Reserve Price, which would be the Market Value of the land and the valuation of the structure and land improvement, if any, thereof as assessed by government. If no bid is received, the land may be put to re-auction at 15% reduced value of the last unresponsive auction amount. If again, no bid is received, the matter will be placed before the Empowered Committee for Its recommendations to the Government for reserve price to be fixed and therefore the decision of the Government on such recommendations will be final.
Premium and ground rent
The government will charge premium and ground rent for lease from the lessee every year. The premium will be the final price arrived at completion of the auction proceedings, while the ground rent will be 2.5% of the premium (auction amount excluding valuation of the structure and land improvement). The ground rent has to be paid annually in advance at the beginning of every year.
“The premium and ground rent of the lease granted under the previous set of rules, and rules framed there under for the period from the date of expiry (2019) till the date of notification of these rules (December 2022) shall be amount due as per the Jammu and Kashmir Land Grants Rules, 1960 (repealed) and the amount shall be deposited within 90 days falling which it shall be recovered as arrears of the land revenue under the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Ad, 1996,” said the new rules.
The new rules say that the Government reserves the right to retrieve the land if the same is required for any public purpose after payment of compensation calculated on pro rata the premium paid by the lessee for the balance lease period rounded to the nearest quarter.
The government said that it reserves the right to grant land on lease to the Union territory government or Central Government Departments or any of its Agencies, Statutory Board, or Corporations or such other Government entities as may be prescribed by It without adopting the mode of auction.