ZT Research Desk
In a significant development that could impact the ownership status of properties left behind by people from J&K who have migrated to Pakistan or Pak-Administered Kashmir (PAK) in post 1947 period, the union finance ministry is looking at several monetisation models, including the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) model for sale of land assets of CPSEs and also those which are classified as ‘enemy property’ by the government.
REITs, which are regulated by SEBI, are instruments for investments in real estate. Under this REITs model of securitisation, the land assets will be transferred to a trust providing investment opportunity for institutional investors.
The finance ministry is looking at the REITs model along with other modes like leasing or outright sale of land assets for monetising non-core assets of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) which have been identified for strategic disinvestment, an official said.
The ministry is also considering REITs model for monetisation of immovable enemy property.
With regard to sale of immovable enemy properties, the guidelines said the assets would be identified for disposal in consultation with the stakeholders including the respective state governments.
Enemy property refers to the assets which were left behind by people who migrated to Pakistan or China and are no longer citizens of India.
The Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI) or the Ministry of Home Affairs will select the properties for disposal and will also certify that a clear title deed is available and the property is free of any encumbrances and encroachment.
Although the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) under the Finance Ministry has spelled out the several model which could be used for monetising land assets, the final call will be taken by a ministerial panel headed by the finance minister.
One of the models proposed by DIPAM is ‘Direct Contractual Approach’ under which large upfront payments for the land could be made to government coupled with small annual payments or small upfront payment coupled with annual payments.
“Adoption of one or the other model would depend upon many factors like type and use of asset, objective of monetisation and various other factors,” an official said.
The other model could be the one being used by NHAI under which operations of an existing revenue generating assets are entrusted to a private party for specified period on specific terms and conditions like the ‘Toll-Operate-Transfer’ (ToT).
Another model which could be considered is to transfer the land to state-owned NBCC for developing affordable housing or central/state government offices.
DIPAM had earlier this week come out with guidelines for monetisation of non-core assets of CPSEs and immovable enemy properties, following a Cabinet decision in February.
As per the guidelines, state-run companies will have 12 months to monetise non-core assets identified by a ministerial panel, headed by the finance minister, failing which the finance ministry may restrict budgetary allocations to the CPSEs.
Status of Evacuee Properties in J&K
In December 2018, the J&K High Court called for a complete ban on allotment of all evacuee property in the state till the time the government comes up with appropriate rules.
Justice Sanjeev Kumar while passing the order noted that the instant case was not an isolated case of arbitrary and illegal allotment made by Custodian/Custodian General, but the department of Custodian/Custodian General has been indulging in such arbitrary allotments of evacuee property in the same manner with impunity.
“The property of evacuees, worth crores of rupees, has been squandered in this manner,” the court further held.
The judge directed that no allotment of evacuee property shall be made without public notifications.
The court had emphasized that the government needs to come up with an appropriate legislation/rules, providing for allotment of evacuee property vested in the Custodian/Custodian General by virtue of the Act of 2006.
The court ordered, “Till such legislation/rules are framed by the Government pertaining to allotment of urban immovable evacuee properties including residential house(s) of evacuees, it would be incumbent upon Custodian to allot available properties/urban properties of evacuee(s) by adopting a fair and rational procedure, which is in consonance with Article 14 of the Constitution.”
The court directed that no allotment of evacuee property shall be made unless applications by public notifications are invited from general public and applications, so received, dealt with in rational manner by adopting fair criteria/yardstick for selecting a person for allotment of such properties.
The court directed that the copy of the order shall be sent to Chief Secretary, J&K, who shall take effective steps for framing of appropriate rules to comprehensively regulate the allotment of urban properties including the residential house(s) of the evacuee(s), vested in the Custodian under the Act of 2006.
Legal experts opine that although J&K state has specific laws, like the J&K Evacuees (Administration of Property) Act, 1949, governing the administration of evacuee properties, any new initiative of the union government, which, prima facie, is seeking state governments’ concurrence, aimed at monetisation could be the basis of the change that the High Court has talked about.
What is the nature of the evacuee properties in J&K?
The government of Jammu and Kashmir has 1470840 Kanals of Custodian land in state, besides 4115 houses, documents accessed by Ziraat Times from J&K Assembly records suggest.
Status of Evacuee Land in Kashmir Division
Total in Kashmir division – 58834 Kanal
Baramulla District – 34505 Kanal
Kupwara district – 11031 Kanal
Srinagar district – 2234 Kanal and 7 Marlas
Other properties in Kashmir division
372 shops/Halls/Rooms and Godowns,
2 Convention centers,
15 orchids and 2 cow sheds
Status of Evacuee Land in jammu Division
Total evacuee land in Jammu Division:
1412006 Kanal and 2 Marlas
Jammu District – 552006 Kanal 6 Marla
Rajouri District – 342162 Kanal 5 Marlas
Samba – 253705 Kanal 14 Marlas
Poonch – 173286 Kanal
Kathua – 59782 Kanal 14 Marlas
Reasi – 22050 Kanal 10 Marlas
Udhampur – 9725 Kanal 17 Marlas
Ramban – 296 Kanal 17 Marlas
Other Properties in Jammu Division
Houses – 3798
Jammu district – 2072
Kathua district – 608
Poonch – 532
Flats – 403
Khokhas – 469
Shops/ Garages – 1150
Orchards – 110
How is the Evacuee Property Department run?
The Evacuee Property Department runs on its own resources, without any grant-in-aid or financial assistance from the Government/ Institutions. 30% of the income plus 10% interest accruing thereon from other deposits are spent on “Administration charges” and 25% of the income is being utilized for maintenance and repairs of evacuee property houses, flats, orchards, etc in pursuance of Rule 22 of J&K State Evacuees ( Administration of Property) Rules Svt 2008. The Department has raised/ is raising assets on the vacant evacuee property sites for residential as well as commercial purposes by spending the amount out of the common pool.
|S.No||Particulars of Project||Estimated cost (Rs. In lakhs)||Present Status|
|1||Construction of Community Activity Centre/ Banquet Hall at Udehwala Jammu||1077.00||Nearer to completion|
|2||Construction of 04 more sets on self finance basis on EP land situated at Wazarat Road Jammu.||86.00||Nearer to completion|
With raising of the assets aforementioned, the department has not only received crores of rupees on account of premium but has also generated regular income worth lacs of rupees annually by way of allotments/ lease made in respect of the said property after following due procedure of law under the EP Act Svt. 2006. Relevant to mention here that by introducing New Policy/ guidelines in the year 2010, the department has been receiving handsome income by way of charging premium for leasing out of evacuee properties on long term basis @ 70% ,50% and 40% of potential value assessed by the Committee designated respectively for the purposes of Commercial, Residential and Agriculture besides monthly rent and fee chargeable for transfer of leasehold rights to a third party.
Evacuee Property Assets & Infrastructure of Jammu Division
|6||Orchards||120-(608 Kanal &18 marlas)|
Details of Income/Revenue of the Assets lying with Evacuee Property Department J&K – Jammu Division
|S.No||Description of Assets||No. of Assets||Yearly Income|
|1||E.P. Houses||3798||88.00 lacs|
|3||Shops Garages||1150|| |