Roshni Act dominate debate on Governor’s address
10 January 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: During debate on Governor’s address, ruling coalition members stoutly defended policies and programmes being propagated by the State Government while as opposition benches seized every opportunity to expose wrong policies of the regime. Much publicized Roshni Act dominated second sitting of the Legislative Assembly. Congress member Sham Lal Sharma while defending Roshni Act, said that refugees of 1947, 1965, 1971 and others have been debarred from this Act while as for the benefit of peasantry class, the Government has fixed a slab of 12.5 acres which was sufficient for farmers. Mr Sharma, while elaborating on Roshni Act, said that classes fall under LB-6 and LB-7 categories have been already exempted from this Act. He was of opinion that this Act was in the interest of the common masses. He, however, urged upon the State Government to exempt all those who have been living Below Poverty Line (BPL) from the purview of the Roshni Act. Pinpointing flaws in the erstwhile Roshni scheme formulated by the previous National Conference regime, the Congress member said that it was good step but there were some loopholes in that Act. 'Our Government has decided to remove these flaws with new Roshni Act’’, he said. Taking a dig at National Conference for repeatedly equating ‘Land to Tiller’ act with that of Roshni Act , Mr Sharma reminded the opposition members that late Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah had allotted landlords’ land to the poor people but this regime wants to grant property right to the people who have grabbed government land which belong to all of us. 'Roshni Act will help the Government to collect some revenue which will further accelerate developmental activities in the State’’, he said. NC member from Surankote MA Bukhari, dubbed Governor’s address as ‘bundle of lies’ and said that except promises this regime has done nothing. Equating Ghulam Nabi Azad government with that of his predecessor Mufti Mohamed Sayed, Mr Bukhari said that only difference between two was that the former was not interested in witch hunting while as later was very particular about settling personal scores and political victimization. . Strongly demanding ST status for Paharies, Mr Bukhari warned of ‘‘bloodshed’’ if the demand of 12 lakh people was not fulfilled. 'Denial justice to Paharies will led to violence and emergence of another type of militancy in the region’’, he said and also demanded Poonch-Rajouri Development Council on the pattern of Leh Hill Development Council. The lone BJP member, Jugal Kishore while participating in the debate highlighted rampant corruption in the administration. He said that during the last four years corruption has crossed all limits and officers have been openly demanding commission. He also highlighted miseries of the West Pakistani refugees and regretted that despite repeated assurances nothing has been done. He further said that ruling coalition, like previous regimes, have meted out step motherly treatment with Jammu region. PDP member Shanti Devi, while strongly defending Roshni Act demanded that market prices should be fixed for land which has been utilized for commercial purposes as well as encroached by land mafia. She urged upon the Government to charge possible minimum prices from the farmers. She took NC members to task for opposing this Act and called upon the opposition to give positive suggestions on this Act. She further said that coalition regime has been working with sincerity and dedication to solve woes of the masses. Former Minister and MLA from Raipur Domana, Mula Ram while highlighting achievements of the coalition regime, said that during the last four years this government has taken many radical steps for the development and betterment of the masses. He specially mentioned some schemes launched by the Government for the upliftment of the weaker and neglected lot of the society. He said that present Government has created heads of departments at divisional level to facilitate the people. He suggested strengthening of cooperative movement in the State. PDF member and former Minister, Usman Majid, participating in debate, came heavily on All Party Hurriyat Conference for shying away from participating in dialogue process. When Hurriyat leaders do not have hesitation in holding close door meeting with Prime Minister then why they are shying from sharing dialogue with other people in open?’’, he asked. He, however, demanded that people of this state want to know what transpired in Hurriyat leaders meetings with Prime Minister. Dr Chaman Lal, Abdul Gaffar Sofi also participated in the debate.