Jammu, July 23 : The Evacuee Property Tenants Welfare Society, Jammu province, has demanded the proprietary rights of evacuee property houses to their allottees, and for which they had been paying rent for a long time and maintaining them themselves. There are some 2,000 residential and 400 commercial evacuee properties in the town, 80 per cent of them in the old city.
Krishan Lal Gupta, chairman of the association, said, “We urged Minister for Revenue and Relief Raman Bhalla to bring necessary amendments to the J&K Evacuee Property Act to provide proprietary rights to the tenants of the evacuee property houses, where they had been living for several decades, paying rent as well as undertaking repairs and renovation on their own.”
He said tenants all over the country, except in the state, had been given ownership rights after paying a nominal fees.
Abdul Wani, the custodian of evacuee properties, said, “The matter regarding transfer, enhancement in fee and lease rights have to be decided by a special committee of the Custodian Department after taking all aspects into consideration. But it is not possible that the property is given on lease without an increase in rent. And the demand of these people for ownership rights is not feasible keeping the volatile situation in Kashmir in view.”
Bhalla had assured to look into the matter by calling all officers concerned, including those from the Revenue Department, and the members of the association to arrive at an agreement.
He complained that the Property Department had been unnecessarily harassing the tenants by holding the sword of eviction over their heads and forcing them to enhance the rent every now and then. “We have demanded that no premium should be charged in case of transfer of tenancy to the legal heir of a deceased tenant and this transfer should be made automatically through a simple procedure.”
Gupta referred to his past meeting with the then Revenue Minister that was also attended by the Financial Commissioner (revenue) Custodian General in the previous government. “A consensus was built in the meeting that the evacuee properties be granted on a 40-year lease to the allotees without enhancing rent.”