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HomeJammu and KashmirJammu and Kashmir government sets deadline to retrieve encroached state land

Jammu and Kashmir government sets deadline to retrieve encroached state land

Jammu and Kashmir government sets deadline to retrieve encroached state land

Despite brewing resentment the Jammu and Kashmir administration has asked the concerned revenue officers to ensure 100 per cent  removal of encroachments from state land, including Roshni and Kahcharai by January end.

The order by Vijay Kumar Bidhuri, Commissioner Secretary Revenue to all deputy commissioners of the Union Territory was passed even as several review petitions challenging Roshni Act judgment lie pending before the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Bidhuri has also listed a set of instructions for effective monitoring of the anti-encroachment drive. The encroachment list involves highly influential persons of J&K including politicians from all major political parties and businessmen who have taken prized locations for peanuts.

Sources said over 30 politicians from various political parties, including former ministers and legislators have been identified as grabbers of state land in the Revenue department’s preliminary exercise for recovering government lands.

Even names of National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, also a former CM, have surfaced on a list of land encroachers.

“Most of these encroachments had taken place in the posh outskirts of the capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar in the last several decades. Cost of land in these areas ranges between Rs two to Rs four crore per kanal (5445 sq feet),” they said and added this is excluding the lands transferred under the Roshni scheme and the community lands (kahcharai) occupied by thousands of land grabbers.

The benefits of regularisation granted to the beneficiaries under the Roshni Act were withdrawn by the Division Bench of the J&K High Court, which was led by the then Chief Justice Gita Mittal, when handling the PIL No 19/2011 and other related concerns.

The Roshni Act was first introduced in the budget speech of 2000 by then finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather of the NC. In 2005, the PDP government-led by (late) Mufti Mohammed Syed relaxed the cut off year to 2004. The Congress government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad, further relaxed the cut off year to 2007.

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.

All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference, a body of elected panchayat members, on Sunday threatened block-wise protests across the Union Territory against any “anti-encroachment” drive aimed at retrieving state land which has been in possession of people for decades.

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