J&K releases another list of Roshni Act beneficiaries; 2,195 'encroachers' from Jammu, 335 from Kashmir

The names were made public by the J&K administration in accordance with a 9 October directive of the J&K High Court which declared the Roshni Act 'illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable' and ordered a CBI probe

Press Trust of India November 26, 2020 23:03:22 IST
J&K releases another list of Roshni Act beneficiaries; 2,195 'encroachers' from Jammu, 335 from Kashmir

File image of J&K High Court. PTI

Jammu/Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has released another list of over 2,500 people, including a retired police officer, a PDP leader's son, and a prominent businessman, who have either availed land under the Roshni Act or encroached state land.

While 2,195 of them were named in various lists related to Roshni Act and encroached land released by the divisional administration of Jammu concerning different tehsils of the district, the lists released in Kashmir named 335 beneficiaries of the Roshni scheme covering eight districts.

Another list covering those who have encroached upon the state land, either recorded or not recorded in revenue records, released by the divisional administration of Jammu included 3,435 names.

Most of them belong to the majority community of Jammu, who have usurped thousand of kanals of land in different parts of Jammu district. Several former ministers, ex-bureaucrats and prominent businessmen have been named among the beneficiaries of the Roshni scheme.

Former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and several other political leaders affiliated with the PDP and the Congress besides some retired police officers have been accused of land encroachment. The Abdullahs have strongly denied the charges.

In the latest list released in Jammu, retired DIGP Khalid Durani is accused of encroaching three kanals of land, while prominent businessman Owais Ahmad is shown as having encroached over two kanals of land.

As many as 1,425 people, mostly farmers, were named in the list of encroachers of state land in Bhalwal tehsil with over 15,653 kanals of land under their occupation. Similarly, 664 people are shown under the occupation of 2,835 kanals of encroached land in Jammu north and another 88 people under the occupation of 514 kanals in Jammu West tehsil.

In Kashmir Valley, the divisional administration so far released names of 623 beneficiaries of Roshni scheme — 288 in Srinagar district, 133 in Baramulla, 78 in Bandipora, 44 in Kupwara, 20 each in Ganderbal, Anantnag and Kulgam, 13 in Budgam and seven in Shopian. Among the 20 beneficiaries in Ganderbal district, Tipoo Sultan, a contractor, and son of former PDP minister Qazi Mohammad Afzal legalised his five kanal and 17 marlas of land by depositing Rs 600 under the Roshni Act, the list claimed.

Most of the agricultural land was legalised by the beneficiaries across Jammu and Kashmir at the rate of Rs 10 or below in accordance with the Act.

The lists were made public by the divisional administration, both in Kashmir and Jammu regions, in accordance with the 9 October directive of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which declared the Roshni Act "illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable" and ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of the land under this law.

On 1 November, the Union Territory government 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 principal secretary and revenue department has 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.

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