MOD admits it is using assets without lease, paying Rs 97000 rent per annum for 69 kanal land
The Government of India has made it clear that no time-frame could be set for the return of JK’s prime property—Kashmir House at Rajaji Marg, New Delhi—to the State even as J&K government is making concerted efforts to get back the multi-crore property.
This was disclosed by the Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, in his written reply to a question raised by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and member parliament from south Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, in the Lok Sabha.
“No timeframe has been fixed,” Jaitley said in his reply to Mehbooba’s query on when the property at Rajaji Marg, New Delhi is likely to be returned to J&K.
The Defence Minister informed the house that Rs 97,942 have been released annually to the Union Urban Development Ministry as rent of the property for the last three years.
“Based on annual rental bill raised by the Urban Development Ministry, Defence Ministry has released payments at the rate of Rs 97942 per annum to the Ministry of Urban Development for Kashmir House Rajaji Marg during the last three years—1 April 2011 to 31 March 2014,” the Defence Minister said.
“The rent for the current year will be due in March 2015,” he said.
The Ministry also admitted that the property is not on lease with it.
As already reported by this newspaper, the Union Defence Ministry is in possession of 96 kanals of prime land at Rajaji Marg since 1946, which originally belongs to JK.
Of the total of 114 kanals and 11 malras of land belonging to J&K, 17 kanals are under possession of the state, 96 kanals under the occupation of MoD and one kanal and 11 marlas under Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
Documents reveal that the property was leased out for the period of five years by JK government to the Union Defence Ministry in 1946. Though the lease deed expired in 1951, the state government couldn’t get back the property.
Since 1977, the successive regimes of the State have raised the issue with the Centre, but to no avail.
In 2008, the Defence Ministry had conveyed to the state government that “it is making constant efforts to find alternative space to facilitate vacation of Kashmir House at Rajaji Marg.”
After coming to power in 2008, the NC-Congress regime took up the issue repeatedly with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Union Cabinet Secretariat. But that too didn’t yield any result.