New land law will check J&K’s Roshni-like scams, illegal land grabbing: Jitendra Singh

Srinagar: Union minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said the new land law will check Jammu and Kashmir’s Roshni-like scams and illegal land grabbing

He said the law is also against “mafia members of the politician-administration nexus” who have been for over half a century constructing huge mansions, bungalows and commercial complexes on unauthorised land.

“It is precisely for this reason that all these habitual law breakers have ganged up to spread a disinformation campaign against the land law which has been implemented as per the provisions of the Constitution of India,” the minister of state for personnel said.

He accused the “Roshni scamsters” and land grabbers of opposing the land law of Jammu and Kashmir.

On November 1, the Union Territory administration had cancelled all land transfers that took place under the JK State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 – also known as the Roshni Act – under which 2.5 lakh acres of land was to be transferred to the existing occupants.

The Jammu and Kashmir high court has declared Roshni Act as “illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable” and ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of the land under this law.

“The new land law will check Roshni-like scams and illegal land grabbing in future,” Singh told PTI.

The Centre has recently allowed people from across the country to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir by amending several laws.

He said most of the cases of illegal occupation of land and illegal constructions were carried out during the National Conference-Congress and PDP-Congress governments, and its beneficiaries include high profile ministers and bureaucrats from Kashmir as well as some of the then ministers from the Jammu region.

“All the injustice to Jammu was done when the Congress and National Conference ministers from Jammu were part of the governments and if they are now saying that Jammu did not get its due, they are actually raising question mark on their own role as ministers at that time,” the minister said.

Addressing meetings during the district development council election campaign in Chennai area of Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said it is interesting to see that some of these former ministers had always been demanding CBI inquiries for insignificant cases, but now objecting to the investigation into the land grabbing case.

The Roshni Act was enacted in 2001 with the twin objectives of generating resources for financing power projects and conferment of proprietary rights to the occupants of the state land.

It initially envisaged conferment of proprietary rights of around 20.55 lakh kanals (1,02,750 hectares) to the occupants of which only 15.85 per cent land was approved for vesting of ownership rights.

Amid reports about its widespread misuse, the entire legislation was challenged before the high court which in October stayed the proceedings under the Act and also directed that neither the occupants having been conferred upon the ownership rights shall sell these lands nor can raise constructions on such lands.

The Union minister also hit out at the “false propaganda” regarding MGNREGA payments having been stopped. He said the payments have only been stopped for those agents who were acting as middlemen and taking away all the funds. (PTI)

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