Govt tries to get out of ‘CAG’mire

JAMMU: The state government Sunday said sought  to downplay the  Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) report on irregularities in the implementation of Roshni scheme in Jammu and Kashmir,  saying there were “glaring gaps” in it.
“The steps taken by the Principal Accountant General in identifying the loopholes in the implementation of the Roshni scheme were  welcome and government would look into the violations of norms wherever pointed out,” Minister of State for Revenue, Relief & Rehabilitation,  Ajaz Ahmad Khan said while addressing a press conference here
Ajaz, however, said there were “some glaring gaps” in the report of the CAG pertaining to Roshni scheme.
“The CAG report has been made on wrong presumptions and speculations,” the Minister  said,  adding the Roshni Act was the “third revolutionary decision in the state after Land to Tiller Act of 1950s and Agrarian Reforms Act of 1970s.”
He said the amendments brought in the  Roshni Act in 2007 were not constitutional ones but routine ones and as such needed simple majority of the House, not the 2/3rd majority as pointed out  in the report. The said legislation was cleared by both Houses of Legislature and even opposition parties had supported it, he added.
The Minister said the motive behind Roshni Act was to muster funds for power generation in the state and an upper ceiling of 100 kanals was put. He said the aim was to benefit marginal and landless farmers in the State and around 60 thousand people, involving 3.60 lakh kanals of land, were benefitted. He said there was no contradiction between the Act and the rules of the Scheme which were cleared by the Cabinet itself though normally these are made by the concerned Department only.
Ajaz said that as per the Act it was left to the government for framing rules and Revenue Department taking all precautionary measures framed the rules which included providing agriculture land free of cost. These rules were notified with prior approval of the cabinet as such no other approval was required. These rules were framed in such a manner which ultimately benefited 60 thousand rural families, he said.
Ajaz said the observations of PAG were replied back well in time and all the details about various cabinet decisions, departmental files and the Assembly proceedings were provided to them
The CAG has alleged irregularities in transfer of encroached land to occupants in Jammu and Kashmir from 2007 to 2013, saying the state government realised just Rs 76 crore against a target of Rs 25,448 crore, defeating the purpose of the legislation to raise resources for investment in power sector.
In a report tabled in the Assembly, the CAG has found irregularities in implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, also known as the ‘Roshni Act’, which came into effect on March 1, 2002, and was later amended in 2004 and 2007.
Agreeing with the description that massive land transfers to encroachers under Roshni Act was possibly the “biggest scam” of Jammu and Kashmir, state Principal Accountant General, Subash Chandra Pandey had yesterday  criticised an earlier administration for making rules in contravention and violation of the law.