SAC DECISIONS: Roshni Scheme repealed

SAC DECISIONS: Roshni Scheme repealed
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JAMMU: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik approved repeal of the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, commonly known as Roshni scheme.
SAC directed that all pending proceedings under the Act shall stand cancelled immediately and abate. However, any action taken under the provisions of the repealed Act shall not be invalid, it said.
Advisors to Governor B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K K Sharma, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to Governor, Umang Narula attended the meeting.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 was enacted with the twin objective of generating resources for financing power projects and conferment of proprietary rights to the occupants of the state land. The Act popularly called as Roshni Scheme was believed to be a revolutionary step in the annals of history in Jammu and Kashmir after the Agrarian Reforms Act. It was hoped that the legislation would help boost the farming sector and in turn generate substantial revenue for funding power projects across the State. The rules under the Act were also notified.
Under the provisions of the Act, applications for conferment of ownership rights were to be filed up to 31 March 2007. Any application filed after the said date was not to be considered under the provisions of the Act. This would lead to the inference that the provisions of the Act had actually become inoperable vis-a-vis conferment of ownership rights on the state land after 31 March 2007.
The scheme initially envisaged conferment of proprietary rights of around 20.55 lakh kanals to the occupants of which only 15.85 percent land was approved for vesting of ownership rights. Against the expected/anticipated revenue from such occupants, the revenue actually generated has been meagre thereby failing to realise the objective of the scheme. There have also been reports about the misuse of some provisions of the legislation.
It is significant to highlight that the entire legislation was challenged before the High Court of J&K, in a Public Interest Litigation titled Ankur Sharma V/s State, wherein the court besides staying the proceedings under the said Act 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 said PIL is pending before the High Court. The court has also directed that no further transaction of any kind in respect of the property covered under the Roshni Act shall be affected till further orders of the High Court.
After careful consideration of all pros and cons of the scheme, SAC concluded that the scheme has not served the desired purpose and is no longer relevant in the present context.