The Importance of Grazing Land (Kahcharai Land) and Its Preservation

Kahcharai land, also known as grazing land, is an essential resource for many societies. Not only is it important for livestock, but it has also been used for other purposes of shared interest. However, the growing population and changing land use practices have led to the degradation of these pasture lands.

Over-Grazing and Degradation of Pasture Lands

  • The grazing requirements of the livestock far exceed the availability of land, resulting in over-grazing and the loss of soil fertility and water holding capacity. In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the encroachment of Kahcharai land.
  • This puts more pressure on the available land and can lead to significant loss to livestock in certain areas. In some cases, over-grazing has not only decreased the productivity of the pasture lands but has also led to the loss of soil fertility and water holding capacity.

Acquisition of Kahcharai Land

  • According to the high court, there is no legal prohibition in the Land Acquisition Act that prohibits the acquisition of Kahcharai land for grazing purposes. This is because Kahcharai land is considered to be the property of the government and is utilized for the benefit of the villagers. The Jammu & Kashmir Kahcharai Act defines Kahcharai as “revenue derived or derivable from any duty, fee, tax fine or penalty imposed in relation to levy of grazing”.
  • The Act provides for the collection of revenue from grazing, the registration of nomads as grazers, and various offenses in relation to grazing. However, it does not provide that land earmarked for grazing purposes in a village is not open for acquisition for buildings such as hospitals or schools.

Protecting Grazing Land for Future Generations

  • Keeping the importance of livestock in the lives of many people, it is, therefore, important to ensure grazing areas. Free grazing of land also causes untold damage to the natural regeneration of the land and as such it is important to protect such land for future generations.

On Roshni land:

  • The Roshni Act was passed in 2001 by the then Jammu and Kashmir government led by Farooq Abdullah. Objective of Roshini Act The act was enacted with the twin objectives of generating resources for financing power projects and conferment of proprietary rights to the occupants of state land.
  • The Roshni Act was formerly known as the J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001. The Roshni Act initially envisaged conferment of proprietary rights of around 2.055 million kanals (102,750 hectares) to the occupants of which only 15.85 per cent land was approved for vesting of ownership rights.
  • The proceeds were to be used for hydropower projects for generating electricity, hence the name, Roshni (meaning light). The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s circular with regard to removal of all encroachments on Roshni and Kahcharai land.
  • A bench of Justices M R Shah and C T Ravikumar which declined to pass any order, however, orally asked the counsel appearing for the Union Territory to not demolish houses. “We are not passing any order today. You instruct them orally not to demolish any houses. But we will not grant a general stay…,” Justice Shah told the counsel for the petitioners who sought urgent stay on the circular.
  • The bench added that if it stays the circular that will benefit land grabber. The petitioners told the court that there were many tribals living on the land. The court, however, pointed out that the relief of stay cannot be granted. The J&K administration had on January 9 ordered removal of the encroachments from Roshni and Kahcharai land by January 31.
  • The High Court ruling and the recent circular from the J&K administration highlight the ongoing issue of land encroachments and the need to protect and preserve grazing land for the benefit of the society.

Synopsis

Kahcharai land, also known as grazing land, is an essential resource for many societies. It is important for livestock and other purposes of shared interest. However, the growing population and changing land use practices have led to the degradation of these pasture lands. The high court has ruled that there is no legal prohibition in the Land Acquisition Act that prohibits the acquisition of Kahcharai land for grazing purposes. It is important to protect and preserve grazing land for the benefit of the society and for future generations.

Written by IAS POINT

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