Governor's text on land controversy

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Srinagar, Jun 29 (UNI) Following is the text of the statement of Governor, N N Vohra, who is also the Chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), on forest land controversy.

At the request of the SASB, the State government had issued an order to sanction the diversion of 39.88 hactare of forest land for enabling the SASB to raise pre-fabricated structures only for providing camping facilities to pilgrims at Baltal and Domail.

The misrepresentation of the facts, background and actual significance of the aforesaid order has contributed to a grave misperception, bordering on conviction, that SASB had acquired permanent ownership of forest land to erect permanent structures.

In fact, the demarcation of the land and its possession has not so far been delivered to the SASB which has also not paid the assessed compensation for use of the land.

The doubts and suspicions spread by certain elements have led to a wave of protests and loss of precious lives. The emerging insecure environment has also resulted in reducing the earlier inflow of over 10,000 yatris and tourists every day to a mere trickle.

In fact, even those who had arrived for yatra or for a holiday in Kashmir have been rushing to get out. Thus, besides the serious impediments caused by the disturbance of peace and harmony, the ongoing agitation has also caused serious economic loss to the thousands of families who benefit from the lakhs who visit Kashmir to perform Yatra or for tourism.

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