29 August, New Delhi: After a lapse of almost ten years, the 600+ harmed households in Budgam district are expected to get compensation for the 4000 kanals of land that the Defence Estates Department purchased in 2013 in the Srinagar Old Airfield region (Estate Karewa Damodar). Farmers and landowners who had been wronged were still waiting for reimbursement. Each family had previously received a portion of the payment of Rs. 4.80 lakhs per kanal, but once the prices were increased to Rs. 18 to 20 lakhs per kanal, the aforementioned amount was not given to the households.
A group of angry landowners from the Karewa Damodar (Old Airfield) Srinagar estate were represented by social activist Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat, and they met in-depth with top authorities on Monday at the DG Defence Estates Office in New Delhi.
According to a statement from the Zamidaran Committee Karewa Damodar, the meeting was successful because senior officers from the DG Defence Estates Office in New Delhi announced that the government of India had approved a payment totaling more than 600 Crore, which would be distributed to the landowners through the Defence Estates Officer in Srinagar and the Deputy Commissioner in Budgam.
Relevantly, in Srinagar last year, GOC 15 Corps Lt Gen ADC Aujla met with the landowners of Karewa Damodar (Old Airport) and a number of well-known social activists to discuss the issues affecting the affected families whose land had been acquired by the Defence Estates Department at the old airfield but payment was not being released.
“The former GOC for 15 Corps, Lt Gen ADS Aujla, took our complaint seriously and has been in touch with the Defence Estates Department ever since. Even after being transferred from Srinagar, he arranged a meeting with the department’s senior personnel, and we have every confidence that the wronged landowners would be compensated. Lt Gen Aujla and DG of Defence Estates G S Rajeshwaran both have my personal gratitude for their assistance. Dr. Raja Muzaffar stated, “I now want DC Budgam and Defence Estates Officer Srinagar to expedite our petition.
On Saturday, GOC 15 Corps Lt Gen ADS Aujla met with a group of landowners and social activists headed by Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat at Chinar Corps headquarters. The group included notable RTI activist from Budgam Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, Vice President Mohammad Ameen Kuchay, and President of the Zamindar Committee Karewa Damodar Shabir Ahmad Sofi.
Pertinent land spanning around 3879 kanals of land is situated nearby and is owned by 600+ households in the nearby Budgam district communities of Wathoora, Kralpora, Buchroo, and Rangreth. Since the Defence Estates Department purchased the afflicted families’ property in 2012, they have waited ten years for compensation. Before 2013, the Army, via the Defence Estates Department, paid the landowners a yearly rent. The government made the decision to buy the aforementioned property, which the Army already owned, in 2012.