Roshni Scheme: Now left out occupants can claim State land



Srinagar, Feb 7: Jammu and Kashmir government is mulling procedural review of the Roshni scheme to allow ‘left out authorized occupants’ stake ownership rights over the State land.
Sources said the Revenue Department was working out modalities in this regard which would be placed before Cabinet for approval after prior consent from the Law Department.
“Only the procedure which allows people to apply for the ownership rights will be revised,” said a senior official in the Revenue Department.
A meeting recently chaired by Law Minister Mir Saifullah decided the time limit for filling applications and deposit of fee under the Act—The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act—should be extended so that left out occupants and lease-holders get benefitted.
The Law Minister told Greater Kashmir that the Revenue Department had moved proposal seeking benefits for lease-holders under the Act.
“We disagreed to it and asked them to come up with proposal which is pro common man. There are people who did not benefit under the law due to lack of awareness or some other reasons,” Saifullah said. A Revenue official said the government has received 2.57 lakh applications under the Roshni scheme for 17.86 lakh kanals of land across J&K.
Around 1.66 lakh applications have been cleared by the Revenue department vesting ownership rights on 6.05 lakh kanals of land against the approved cost of Rs 316 crore. However, the returns have been just Rs 76 crore under the much-hyped scheme so far—over Rs 53 crore in Kashmir and Rs 22 crore in Jammu. “In large number of cases approved by the official committees, the occupants are yet to deposit the cost of land or they have not cleared the full balance,” an official said.
Officials said now there were apprehensions that even Rs 600 crore could not be generated.
The latest decision by the government to extend the date for applying under the law comes at a time when parties in J&K are gearing up for the 2014 Assembly elections.
Conceived in 2001 to fetch Rs 25,000 crore by selling State land at market prices to occupants, the Roshni scheme grew scandalous since its inception with revenue raised under the program standing at only a fraction of the target.
It was proposed that the equity would be invested in power generation sector for shaping fortunes of the state.
The law came into force in 2004 and for conferring ownership rights, the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led coalition government in 2006-07 framed new rules - The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Rules, 2007.
Accordingly, occupants were asked to apply for the ownership rights and the process was later closed.
As per the rules, the occupants owning residential structures on State or Nazool land up to 2 kanals were required to pay only 25 percent of the value of the land determined by the departmental committee and 40 percent up to 10 kanals. For authorized overstayed and unauthorized occupants, the rates were fixed at 35 percent and 50 percent of the value of the land.
In commercial category, authorized, authorized overstayed and unauthorized occupants had to pay 30 percent, 45 percent and 60 percent of the value of the land respectively.
But the blow to the Roshni scheme was dealt in 2007 when the then government reintroduced the scheme in legislature, fixing a token amount of Rs 100 for up to 100 kanals of agriculture land.
The government tried to justify the move saying 19 lakh cultivators would get benefited, ignorant of the fact that the State has less than 16 lakh cultivators and only 16.27 percent of them had encroached upon State land.
“The original Roshni Act -J&K State Land (Vesting of ownership to the occupants) Act 2001- was targeted to raise revenue of Rs 25,000 crores that were supposed to be deposited in a special fund for power generation in the state,” Rather told the Legislative Assembly in 2010. “Due to amendments in 2004 and 2006 by the then governments, free ownership rights were conferred to the occupants on a vast chunk of land due to which the targeted revenue under the scheme could not be achieved,” Rather had observed.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 7 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 7 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST

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