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Kashmir minister welcomes Roshni Scheme probe, attacks CAG report

Posted on Mar 10 2014 | IANS

Jammu, March 9 : Jammu and Kashmir Revenue Minister Ajaz Ahmad Khan Sunday welcomed the state vigilance organization probe into the "Roshni scheme", which allowed proprietary rights to those in possession of state land but termed the CAG report on irregularities in the scheme is "presumptuous".

Addressing a media conference here, Khan welcomed the steps taken by the principal accountant general in identifying the loopholes in the implementation of the Roshni scheme.

"The state government would look into the violations of norms," he said.

The CAG report had pointed out irregularities in the implementation of the Roshni scheme, maintaining that huge losses had occurred to the exchequer because of the irregularities in implementing the scheme.

The minister, however, said there were gaps in the CAG report which should have been closed before preparing the said report.

He said the implementation of the Roshni scheme is already under review by the state vigilance commission and the CAG report would be examined by the state legislature's public accounts committee.

"The government won't conceal anything nor would it protect any wrongdoer," he asserted.

The state legislature had passed the Roshni Act in 2001, with the scheme envisaged to generate revenue for hydro-power generation in the state.

The minister said the amendments brought in the Roshni Act in 2007 were not constitutional, but routine ones and as such needed simple majority of the legislature and not two-thirds majority as has been said in the CAG report.

"The motive behind bringing Roshni Act was to muster funds for power generation in the state and an upper ceiling of 100 kanals was put. The aim was to benefit marginal and landless farmers in the state and around 60,000 people, involving 3.60 lakh kanals of land, were benefitted.

"There is 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 department concerned only," he said.

He also said as per the act, it was left to the government to frame rules and the revenue department taking all precautionary measures framed the rules which included providing agriculture land free of cost.

Contending that the CAG report has been made on wrong presumptions and speculation, Khan said Roshni Act was the third revolutionary decision in the state after the Land to Tiller Act of 1950s and the Agrarian Reforms Act of 1970s.

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