Shafat MirPahalgam, Nov 10:
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) run Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIMWS) is looking at acquiring 21 kanals of state land at Pahalgam to expand its facilities here. The land houses state Tourism department’s office and JIMWS has earlier been given 39 kanals of state land.
“The 39 kanals of land, which is being used by the JIMWS doesn’t originally belong to them. The buildings in which it functions are owned by police department. Officials are pursuing hard to get Intiqaal (mutation) of the formal transfer and give possession of land to the institute,’’ said an official.
However apart from land already in use , the Mountaineering Institute is seeking acquisition of 21 kanals of land which is being used by the Tourism department. “The adjacent land to the JIMWS in Nunwan is currently owned by the Shri Amarnath hrine Board (SASB), the take over of which will not be easy for the Institute. They are now eyeing the land which is being used by Tourism department, on which a skating rink is currently being constructed. The whole area, some 15 Kanals, is likely to be transferred to JIMWS as the top officials are supposed to take part in the upcoming Executive Council meet of this institute in Pahalgam on 12 November, Sunday”, added an official.
The JIMWS is administered through an Executive Council, the members of which are drawn from the State as well as the Centre. Currently Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and the Commisssioner/Secretary of JK Tourism are looking after the affairs of the Institute. The Defence Minister and the Chief Minister of the J&K State are the President and Vice President of the Institute respectively.
The Institute is headed by an officer from the Armed forces, of the rank of Colonel or equivalent. The Instructors are drawn from the three services of MOD. They are on deputation for three years, while clerical and other lower rung staff is recruited locally. The locals say that if the land is formally transferred to the institute, the defense ministry will in future use “it for purposes they find suitable.”
“The current BJP-led regime has been time and again talking about creating Hindu townships in the Valley. Once this institute gets the formal possession of the land, it will naturally be the property of Defense Ministry, which can establish any such township here. It is also a contravention of Article 370,’’ said a local resident.
According to sources the state government has already set the process of land transfer in motion as some top officials have also inspected the site. “The land is basically owned by the Tourism department and the Institute has been established over it. It is a government matter and the transfer of the land pertains to the state government only which will decide what should happen with it,” said sub divisional magistrate (SDM) Pahalgam, Mohammad Ashraf.
Assistant Commissioner Revenue for Anantnag district, Syed Shabir Ahmed, said that he was not aware about the proposed transfer of land. “I would look into the matter,’’ he said.