A WELCOME amendment has been made to the land laws in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir that now opens up purchase of land by non-residents of the region. This move has ended a long-pending issue that was always seen as a hindrance for development of the erstwhile State when it enjoyed the unjust Special Status under the Article 370. This amendment was on cards and will now open up channels for a slew of developmental activities through various sectors. The new laws permit outsiders to purchase land, enter into contract farming and also set up industrial units which will pave way for more employment and ancillary businesses for the locals. While the new clauses technically open Jammu and Kashmir for purchase of land by outsiders, the government has also assured to provide protection to the permanent residents through notifications. It will insulate the locals from the perceived threat of land sharks and mafias taking control of their properties. The decision has met with an expected opposition from the newly-formed Gupkar alliance parties. It was an obvious response from the leaders whose illegal fiefdom has been shattered.
SUSTAINED projects backed by advanced technology have helped in doubling of India’s irrigation area in recent decades. Intensive irrigation has also brought a big change in cropping pattern and human-induced climate change in regions hitherto facing long spells of drought and almost zero agricultural productivity. However, intensive irrigation has also brought into play a new challenge of increase in atmospheric moisture levels that can be deadly for human lives. Studies have shown that increased moisture levels are enhancing extreme heat stress conditions where people’s bodies do not cool down easily. This situation presents the darker side of technology which has taken control of human thinking for the want of more. Any intensive activity on a particular quality of land is bound to have its side-effects. It is in direct confrontation with the principle of “appropriate technology” laid down by Mahatma Gandhi. Proper balance in land, location and local interest must be maintained for healthy and adequate agricultural yield and ensuring longer fertility of the soil. It can be achieved only through calibrated irrigation.