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Gulmarg land lease put on hold

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
November 23, 2006 20:29 IST
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The controversial Gulmarg land lease decision has been put on hold till its re-examination by the state cabinet. State Tourism Minister Mohammad Dilawar Mir told reporters in Srinagar.

Reacting to widespread criticism of the land lease decision, Mir said the decision to lease out 550 kanals of land in the Gulmarg tourist resort had been taken by the state cabinet headed by chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

"It was not People's Democratic Party's agenda as claimed by the National Conference president Omar Abdullah. The decision was taken by the cabinet headed by the chief minister in order to build a world class tourist infrastructure in Gulmarg," the state tourism minister said.

He defended the decision saying the " of land was only open to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir state and no non-state subject couldĀ have a stake in the land."

Reacting to widespread apprehensions that the lease decision empowered the leasing authority to allot land to even non-state subject persons, Mir said, "We have decided to have this issue re-examined by the state cabinet and till its re-examination by the cabinet, the decision to lease out land in Gulmarg would be put on hold."

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar