M A I N   N E W S

J-K auditor reveals Rs 25k-crore land scam under Roshini Act
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Tribune News Service

State’s biggest scam
CAG detects irregularities worth over Rs 25,000 crore
Against target of over Rs 25,000 crore, govt realised only Rs 76 crore
20 lakh kanals of state land still under encroachment
10 lakh kanals encroached upon in past decade

Jammu, March 8
Subhash Chander Pandey, Principal Accountant General, today dubbed the Roshini Act to be the biggest scam in Jammu and Kashmir. He detected irregularities worth over Rs 25,000 crore.

The Roshini Act, also called the J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 was enacted during the regime of the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.

The next coalition government of the PDP and Congress, under the chief ministership of Ghulam Nabi Azad, had amended it in 2004 and framed rules to finance various hydel power projects in the state from money generated via conferring ownership rights upon the persons who had been occupying state land.

However, against a target of Rs 25,448 crore that was to be realised by November 2006, the state government could only realise a paltry Rs 76 crore, thereby failing to meet the purpose of the legislation.

As of today, 20 lakh kanals of state land stands encroached upon. It stood at 10 lakh kanals in 2004.

“The government had fixed November 2006 as the deadline to realise the target of Rs 25,448 crore. The value of the land now is anybody’s guess,” said Subhash Chander Pandey.

The top official also regretted the lukewarm response of the Revenue Department saying that had the department cooperated with us, the CAG report on Roshini Act vis-à-vis irregularities would have been submitted to the state legislature in September last year.

Pandey said that apart from the state legislature, the CAG findings in the form of reports have been submitted to Governor NN Vohra. “It is now up to the Governor and the Public Accounts Committee of the state legislature to take cognisance of CAG reports,” he added.

He also rued the cold response of the Civil Secretariat including Financial Commissioner, Revenue, to CAG’s requirements for the audit.

“Either the Civil Secretariat, which is a controlling authority of all departments, didn’t have the information or was reluctant to share it with us,” he said.

The Principal Accountant General also said that the rules of the Act, which were framed in 2005 and 2007 during the tenure of Ghulam Nabi Azad, were not in harmony with the Act.

The Roshini Act, 2001 was first amended in 2004 wherein the then government removed the cut-off year 1990 for long-term occupants of state lands and incorporated “authorised occupant” — a person who on the date of the commencement of the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) (Amendment) Act, 2004 was in actual physical possession of the state land, personally or through an authorised agent, by virtue of an existing valid lease or grant made by the competent authority.

“This encouraged encroachers — a fact substantiated by the state land under encroachment. Before amendment in 2004, a total of 10 lakh kanals was under encroachment. In the past 10 years, another 10 lakh kanals were encroached upon,” he said.

Pandey said that another provision that went against the Act was to make transfer of agricultural land free of cost.





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