Roshni Act: J&K govt prepares to evict encroachers

Roshni Act: After naming beneficiaries, J&K govt prepares to evict encroachers

Some of the beneficiaries of the Rs 25,000-crore Roshni scam include former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, his family, several former ministers

The Comptroller and Auditor General, in a 2014 report, had stated that only Rs 76 crore had been collected from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013, as against the target of about Rs 25,000 crore. Credit: PTI Photo

After making the names of beneficiaries who had been allotted land under the now-scrapped Roshni Act public, the Jammu and Kashmir government is now preparing to evict encroachers and retrieve all land distributed under the controversial scheme.

Some of the beneficiaries of the Rs 25,000-crore Roshni scam include former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, his family, several former ministers belonging to National Conference (NC), PDP and Congress, retired IAS and IPS officers and high-profile businessmen.

Official sources said as all mutations under the Roshni Act already stand cancelled and apart from revealing the names, the government is working on a follow-up, which as per the court's direction, is to evict the encroachers.

“The investigation part being carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is probing the whole scheme and so far seven FIRs have been registered by the investigation agency,” they said and added the Chief Secretary is monitoring the matter given the beneficiaries include the rich and famous of J&K.

Roshni Act, enacted in 2001 by the then NC government, which argued that it would not be possible to recover encroached public land from the occupants, allowed grant of proprietary rights to persons holding state land unauthorizedly on payment of the cost equivalent to prevailing market rate.

The Comptroller and Auditor General, in a 2014 report, had stated that only Rs 76 crore had been collected from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013, as against the target of about Rs 25,000 crore.

On November 1, the Union Territory administration cancelled all land transfers that took place under the J&K 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 principal secretary and revenue department have been asked to work out a plan to retrieve large tracts of state land vested under the Act. According to the High Court order, a total of 6,04,602 kanals (75,575 acres) of state land had been regularised and transferred to the occupants. This included 5,71,210 kanals (71,401 acres) in Jammu and 33,392 kanals (4174 acres) in the Kashmir province.