The Bold Voice of J&K

3.40 lakh kanal land out of 3.48 lakh kanal was given free as Agri Land under Roshni Scheme

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Amended Roshni Act also provided for giving freehold rights to official Residential Lease Holders
Some beneficiaries ( old Residential Lease Holders) had even named the prices fixed as on Higher Side

Has Roshni Scheme – ACT No XII of 2001 been unfairly treated disreputing even All Administration & J&K Legislature ?

Has Roshni Scheme – ACT No XII of 2001 been unfairly treated disreputing even All Administration & J&K Legislature ?

Daya Sagar

No doubt the J&K Government has filed an application for review of the order of J&K High Court pronounced on 09 Oct 2020 a PIL of 2011 concerning the so infamous government lands encroachment case {of which at a later date the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 Act No. XII of 2001 too had been made a part at a later date making reference of CAG report presented in J&K Assembly in 2014 } . But since the actions of the J&K Government and the then J&K Legislator with regard to The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 Act No. XII of 2001 from 2001 to 2007 , commonly referred as Roshni Scheme, have been labeled as acts to favour a few influential politicians/ bureaucrats & scam worth Rs.25000 so still some questions could be raised on those who earlier presented the J&K Governments / Legislatures case before the Court before Oct 2020 Judgement was delivered since some very vital elements of the case were not placed before the Court like the facts that not only a few influential people/ politicians / bureaucrats / a few land grabbers but also thousands of the common persons/ families were going to be affected after the reference of CAG Report of 2014 {that had some observations on the implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 Act No. XII of 2001 } had been made by a party in the ongoing PIL of 2011 in J&K HC where under all the beneficiaries , including even those who had been holding leasehold ownership rights on the government lands given to them on 40 yr/ 60 Residential Lease in 1960s/1950s/or even earlier after taking premium, who were going to be accused of being encroachers / land grabbers had not been made party. Such like vital information about the beneficiaries appears to have not been not pointedly placed before the J&K HC, not by even the respondents defending the J&K Legislature and the J&K Government.
It is not out of place to mention here that the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 Act No. XII of 2001 was passed by the J&K State Legislature first in 2001 carrying the policy of the then Government (where J&K National Conference was holding nearly 2/3rd majority) to use the sale proceeds / recoveries for power generation from grant of ownership rights of lands to the unauthorised occupants of government lands (excluding some classes of lands) on likely market price to be determined by committee/ committees constituted by Government under the rules to be made by Government and setting cut off date of occupation as upto 1990.

The Government in J&K changed after 2002 elections and the Congress – PDP J&K Government amended the Act 1st time in 2004 (Act No. XVI of 2004 w.e.f. 21-05-2004 ) making some changes in the Act including also giving the option of taking freehold rights on leased land instead of extension of lease to families / persons like those holding long residential leases prior to 1947 was also made the part there of, ( many families were holding leases like residential leases / leases to education trusts etc even prior to 1947 and after before the J&K Housing Board / JDA/SDA were established) shifting the cut off date to 2004 and 2nd Time the Act was amended in 2007 (Act III of 2007 wef 20th November, 2006 ) when some element of change in policy intentions like the Grant to Tiller policy of 1950 was placed before Legislature by Ghulam Nabi Azad headed Government and specific category of “unauthorised occupied government lands being used for Agriculture atleast since 3 years prior to making application” was also created which was passed by J&K Legislature and rules 2007 were accordingly redrawn by the government in terms of delegation under the Act / in terms of the policy of the then government placed before the Legislature at the time of presentation of the Bill for amendment.. So the welfare objective was modified in 2007 by the Government & Legislature that followed after 2002ed and it appears that Audit had not been fair in drawing conclusions like that the Act made to benefit a few influential politicians /bureaucrats / favoured persons since the policy for giving lands occupied for Agri purpose at zero cost or @ Rs.100 only per Kanal as documentations charges was to involve thousands of small/ marginal farmers also.
TABLE – A Unit of Area : Kanal
The Table is based on a reply given to starred Question No AQ No.618 in J&K Legislative Assembly.
Just to have an broad but immediate idea of the government lands in the possession “unauthorised” it can be well seen from the Table – A below which shows the quantum of the anticipated occupied lands district wise as per reports with the government and the lands that had been cleared by the revenue department for grant of freehold/ ownership rights to illegal occupants / legal occupants ( those who had long official lease ) where from it is quite evident that the ‘beneficiaries’ very very large in number and were spread over whole of J&K ( except Ladakh Region).
The Table is based on a reply given to starred Question No AQ No.618 in J&K Legislative Assembly. As per CAG report tabled in JK Legislative Assembly in 2014 demand notes for only 3,48,160 kanal of land were issued from 2007 to 2013 out of over 20,00,000 Kanal land estimated ( as per CAG report page 38 estimated land in 2006 Nov was 204972 kanals ) to be encroached and from that also 3,40,091 kanal land ( nearly 98 percent ) was rural agriculture land that was to be given by charging just Rs.100 per kanal as documentation charges which involved a few thousand small cultivators many of whom have come under worrying stresses after 2020. It is not out of context here that the field audit team of CAG had over looked the very important fact that in this case a few lakh applications had been received by revenue department , many of the applications were still not cleared after six 7 years. More so the Audit team had test checked the price fixation for urban cases including cases where there were even pre 1947 residential leases ( para 271 Page 38 of CAG report itself says only 547cases covering only 666 kanal of non agri lands were test checked , no Agri land case was test checked ) where as they should have preferred to go for test check of identification and approval agriculture lands which were being given at zero and where there were more chances of favoritism/ wrong identification/ verification of dates of encroachments in old records / taking advantage of change of cutoff date upto 2004 from earlier 2001.
To be continued…
(The writer is Sr Journalist and expert J&K Expert affairs & social activist)

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