J&K Govt Allots Land In 10 Places For Permanent CRPF Facilities
(This was originally posted in News18 by Mufti Islah)
For the first time in many years, the Jammu and Kashmir government is allotting bulk land to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at 10 places in the otherwise volatile south Kashmir to build permanent facilities for troops and families. The exclusive enclaves would be built at four locations in Pulwama, and three places each in Shopian and Anantnag, according to a fresh government order that was issued on Thursday.
This is for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370 clauses that a vast tract of land, 65 acres, has been allotted to the CRPF. The order for the land allotment to the force was issued by the administrative council led by Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha. A CRPF official said they can build permanent camps for its personnel and their families and would undertake the construction soon. However, he said that the paramilitary force as an institution, and not any individual, would get the proprietary rights over the land.
The move is being seen as a major departure from the past considering land allotment to security forces now has been smooth and without any official wrangles. The official said successive governments in the past would find ways to stall land allocation. Also, due to the heavy presence of boots on the ground, there has been no public furore against the decision. Even the social media platforms are quiet about the development. “There is a crying need for safe and decent accommodation for CRPF personnel and their families. They cannot be put up in squalid accommodations,” a senior government official told News18.
The land allocation, he said, is expected to sort out the CRPF “accommodation issues in Kashmir” in the coming years and also ensure spaces for permanent stationing of the troops. “Kashmir has not been normal and we need to have a requisite number of troops for all times and for that we need permanent facilities.” There are a few big camps in Kashmir set up decades ago but since militancy began and CRPF was brought in to fight, the personnel have had to make do with temporary camps including hotels around the Dal lake.
A senior government official denied such apprehensions, saying the CRPF is the real sufferer when it comes to permanent accommodation. “During elections or law and order issues, we are forced to accommodate them in government schools and offices. There is a need to build permanent facilities for them. Kashmir being a border region should have more such facilities,” he said. At least 25 fresh companies of CRPF were brought to Kashmir on the eve of union home minister Amit Shah’s recent visit. New bunkers and road barriers were installed in Srinagar after the killing of civilians including some non-local vendors by terrorists.
The government in a separate order said the families of those killed will be entitled to government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir on compassionate grounds. Before the scrapping of Article 370 clauses, such jobs were reserved for the kin of locals killed in militancy incidents.