Jammu and Kashmir cabinet to meet Tuesday over Amarnath land rowJune 30th, 2008 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, June 30 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad would Tuesday chair a crucial cabinet meeting here to decide on rescinding the allotment of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) which triggerred unprecedented protests in the valley over the past week. Addressing a media conference here Monday, senior Congress leader and state Health Minister Mangat Ram Sharma said: “The chief minister is returning tomorrow morning when he will hold a cabinet meet where a decision would be taken on the forest land allotment order to SASB that would be acceptable to both the Jammu and the Kashmir regions”.
Sharma and other senior Congress leaders earlier met at the uptown residence of Saif-ud-Din Soz, union Water Resources Minister and chief of the state Congress party.
Sources told IANS that the ticklish issue of rescinding the controversial order on allotting forest land to the SASB was discussed at the meeting.
Asked if the cabinet would revoke the order, Sharma said: “A decision acceptable to all the secular forces would be taken tomorrow, keeping in view the sentiments of the people of both the regions of the state”.
Although some media reports here said the government had decided in principle to revoke the forest land allotment order, Sharma gave no firm indication of such a decision having been already taken.
The state government Match 5 had allotted 40 hectares of forest land in the north Kashmir Baltal base camp area to SASB.
SASB chief executive Arun Kumar later announced the board would construct concrete structures on the allotted land. The statement led to protests all over Kashmir Valley.
Immediately after Kumar’s statement, the government here clarified that the forest land was temporarily diverted to the SASB without any authority to construct concrete structures on it.
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