Disclose rural beneficiaries of Roshni scam
Your esteemed daily has always cared more for unbiased reporting and deserves appreciations for reporting the material related to The J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the occupants ) ACT, 2001 as amended 2007 (Known as Roshni Scheme) after the 9th October order of J&K HC where in the Court has directed CBI for investigations into the state lands of which ownership has been given to private parties who were holding possession it. Divisional Commissioners of Jammu & Kashmir are putting on their websites cases in proper format since 23 -11-2020 in 4 categories [Proforma A = Approved & Mutation attested thereafter, Proforma B = Approved but Mutation not attested; Proforma C= State land encroachment (recorded in revenue records, other than Roshni), Proforma D = State land encroachment (Physically) but not shown in Revenue records(other than Roshni)]. Although there is some delay in publication, still in view of the vast data involved work being done by revenue authorities on the website is appreciable.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has loaded data for all 10 districts, may be areas of some tehsils are still left. Whereas Divisional Commissioner has loaded data for some tehsils of Jammu and Samba Districts only. Data regarding districts of Udhampur, Rajouri, Kathua , Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Reasi, Ramban has not been loaded upto 29 Nov in required formats where there are large number of beneficiaries / lands in Agriculture (free) category as well as Category C and D .
No doubt Revenue department deserves appreciations for not processing large number of cases of encroachers (C,D) though there was enough opportunity to do that which can be seen from fact that it is only 3,48,000 kanals of land out of projected nearly 20,00,000 Kanals available has been cleared under the 2001 Act. The revenue officers could have shared the benefits with eligible encroachers under the cover of the amended ‘Roshni Act’ 2007 but they did not do that. So, it would be unfair to label all the Revenue Officers of misconduct as some people are doing their job with full dedication and honesty.
There could be bad elements in any department but it is surely unfair to accuse every one. No doubt the bad elements have to be punished. Rather revenue officers in general deserve thanks for having saved large bulk of encroached lands and money because even in 13 years only 3.48 lakh Kanals of land was processed which included cases of families who held long duration residential leases also. Had the intentions of the department been bad about 2,00,000 Kanals cases could have been processed under the cover of rules made by Government. Revenue authorities have transferred the lands as per the Government Order / rules on prices fixed by committees.
Surely there could be cases where the date of possession and fixing the category, particularly Agriculture could be alleged to have been wrongly mentioned and cleared for transfer of ownership and that should be investigated. Because 3,40,000 kanal land out of 3,48,000 kanal transferred was given as Agri land ie., free, so the lands given free needed be put under immediate focus/ Audit out of processed cases. Why Audit had taken test audit more around urban cases and not in rural cases could be a question.
The cases of free Agri transfer could be very large number in the Districts of Rajouri, Kathua, Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch , Reasi and for all fairness of things, audit and publications of the information of these districts in the Websites should be given on priority. Some people are alleging that with the political pressure of leaders from BJP data of districts other than Jammu & Samba has not been immediately revealed although which may not be true.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu should expedite data on other districts and tehsils on priority taking the suggestion for fairness of things, more so since some elements appear pushing the revelations into communal controversies which would instead benefit the wrong doers by pushing the investigations off the track.