As an aftermath to its enactment in 2001, and as a result of the subtle amendments made in the Roshni Act, the state is beset with a very piquant situation. It is largely finding it difficult to identify state land for various developmental projects as most of it stands occupied by the influential people who owe proximity to one or the other mainstream party. The state has lost its prized land through the patently anti-people piece of legislation. The beneficiaries of the Act are mostly politicians, bureaucrats and influential people wielding political clout. The meager Rs 6000 crore revenue generated through the law is just peanuts when one compares the market value of the state land sold. The widespread apprehensions in the revenue administration that even the target of Rs 6000 won’t be met, despite thousands of kanals of land already getting consumed under the “infamous” Act are not misplaced as the ground situation points to the fraud played on the public. The Act "The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act" - also named Roshni Act was enacted in 2001 with the objective of generating “Rs 25,000 crore by vesting ownership rights over state land, also called Nazool land, and utilize the money to construct hydropower projects to energize homes and industry.” The idea was to sell the state land at market rates to the people who had illegally encroached upon it and gainfully utilize the revenue generated. But that was not the case; the politicians in power ganged up against the state, modified the law and then went on to make a big fortune for themselves leaving the state poorer by billions of rupees.
It is intriguing to note that the government maintains that 20, 25,083 kanals of state land are under occupation in Jammu and Kashmir - of which 16, 02,148 kanals were in Jammu region and 4, 22,935 in Kashmir valley; and so far it has received over 2.60 lakh applications for proprietary rights over 17,57,581 kanals of encroached state land.
Curiously the total land on which the ownership rights have been vested so far, at an average the per kanal cost of land in Jammu district works out to be Rs 40587/ kanal in Kathua Rs 1038 whereas it is fraudulently priced at Rs 217 in Kishtwar, Rs 175 in Doda , Rs 11 in Poonch , Rs 74 in Rajouri , Rs 139 in Ramban , Rs 300 in Reasi , Rs 7191 in Samba and Rs 299 in Udhampur .
In Kashmir division the per kanal cost of land has been fixed at a respectable average of Rs 2070528 in district Srinagar and again a fraudulent rate of Rs 1254 in district Anantnag, Rs 1654 in Bandipora, Rs 1142 in Baramulla, Rs 3458 in Budgam, Rs 100 in Ganderbal, Rs 1478 in Kulgam, Rs 1060 in Kupwara, Rs 27429 in Pulwama and Rs 5300 in Shopian.
All this became possible only with the framing of new rules for conferring ownership rights of the state land, in 2007 - The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Rules, 2007, issued under Revenue Department Notification SRO 64 dated 5 May, 2007. The amendments were then strongly objected to by the main opposition party National Conference. The NC's stalwart & now Finance Minister Ab Rahim Rather is on record to have said, “Here you are giving property rights to land-grabbers who have occupied Nazool land in cities and khalisa land in villages”. “Only rich, elite and land-grabbers had the audacity to grab the state land and now we have a benevolent government who gave them its rights,” Rather had said, cautioning the state wouldn’t get any money out of it all. He was fully justified to say so and had every strong argument in support of his contention.
But once the NC came to power it did nothing to undo the damage or reverse the illegal process of vesting propriety rights to the land grabbers. The party for its coalition compulsions did not do what it ought to have done during its incumbency so far and instead allowed the fraud to perpetuate. Before it is too late the ruling coalition needs to revisit the unholy act and reverse the fraud done under the garb of a perverted law.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 26 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 27 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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