Despite the Central government’s nod to hand over the 300 Kanal HMT land to the state, the state government has failed to retrieve it and now the major portion of the factory land is under the occupation of CRPF. The HMT watch factory was set up in 1971 at the Zainakote and subsequently the factory became defunct. “From last 25 years this factory is closed. During the regime of NC and the Congress the government of India had decided to handover three hundred kanals of vacant land out of 527 kanal to state government along with the built-up area but the proposal remained in the files and no further action was done,” a senior government official told KNS. “Since the land falls within the Zainakote Industrial Estate, the Industries and Commerce Department had suggested that the land should be handed over to it for industrialization along with the built-up area,” the official said and added that afterwards there was no further action either from the Industries department or from the state government. The official said that the HMT which exits at Zainakote Industrial Estate has a vacant land of 300 kanlas, one built-up area and residential quarters. “The I&C department could not proceed further in the matter as a result the vacant land was occupied by the CRPF and also has been encroached by the land grabbers.” As per the officials of the industries and commerce three hundred Kanals of vacant land if provided to the state government would generate employment for at least 2000 jobless youth and also would increased the economic condition of the local inhabitants. Sheikh Ashiq, president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry told KNS that the state government is not interested in taking over the possession. “I fail to understand why despite the GOI’s nod, the state government is not interested to take the possession of this prime land. If at all the government is serious then they should discuss the matter with the ministry of the home affairs to seek the vacation of the land by parliamentary forces,” he said. Despite repeated attempts the Industries and Commerce minister Chandar Prakash Ganga was not available for comments.
2015 Kashmir Despatch