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JK to get gas network; Roshni Scheme repealed

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SSB Selections: SAC enhances waiting list limit to 50%

Jammu, Nov 28: The Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday approved an amendment to the Gas Pipeline Act to help expansion of the gas distribution network in the state, an official spokesman said.

The proposed amendment was approved by the State Administrative Council (SAC), which met here under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik.

With the amendment, it is hoped that Jammu and Kashmir will have a main gas pipeline from Srinagar by the end of 2019 and a city gas distribution network in Jammu, Srinagar and other major towns within the next 18 to 24 months, the spokesman said.

The existing two-year time limit was not sufficient in view of the distinct topography and hilly terrain of the state which therefore required more time for completion of the initial plan, the spokesman said.

He said the time limit has been increased from two years to five years. The increase in time limit will promote the participation of more gas companies in the bidding process once Right of Way is awarded, the spokesman said.

A nation-wide city gas distribution network has been started across the country. Jammu and Kashmir is one of the few states which do not have the gas pipeline entering its territory.

“One of the impediments in the expansion of the national gas grid to Jammu and Kashmir was certain provisions in the Underground Public Utilities (Acquisition of Rights of User in Land) Act 2014,” the spokesman said, explaining the need for the amendment.

The SAC approved repeal of the J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, commonly known as the Roshni scheme, an official spokesman said.

The decision was taken by the State Administrative Council (SAC), which met here under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik, he said.

Advisors B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K K Sharma, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to the Governor, Umang Narula attended the meeting.

“All pending proceedings under the act shall stand cancelled immediately and abate. However, the SAC directed that any action taken under the provisions of the repealed act shall not be invalid,” the spokesman said.

The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act was enacted in 2001 with the twin objective of generating resources for financing power projects and conferment of proprietary rights to the occupants of the state land.

The act was drummed up by then Congress-PDP government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad as a “revolutionary step in the annals of history in Jammu and Kashmir after the Agrarian Reforms Act”.

It was hoped that the legislation would help to boost the farming sector and in turn generate substantial revenue for funding power projects across the state.

The rules under the act were also notified.

Under the provisions of the act, applications for conferment of ownership rights were to be filed up to March 31, 2007.

Any application filed after the said date was not to be considered under the provisions of the act. This would lead to the inference that the provisions of the act had actually become inoperable viz-a-viz conferment of ownership rights on the state land after March 31, 2007.

The scheme initially envisaged conferment of proprietary rights of around 20.55 lakh kanals (102750 hectares) to the occupants of which only 15.85 percent land was approved for vesting of ownership rights, the spokesman said.

Against the expected or anticipated revenue from such occupants, he said the revenue actually generated has been meagre thereby, failing to realise the objective of the scheme.

There have also been reports about the misuse of some provisions of legislation, the spokesman said.

The entire legislation was challenged before the J&K High Court, in a public interest litigation (PIL), wherein the court besides staying the proceedings under the said act also directed that neither the occupants having been conferred upon the ownership rights shall sell these lands nor can raise constructions on such lands.

The PIL is pending before the court which has also directed that no further transaction of any kind in respect of the property covered under the Roshni Act shall be affected till further orders.

“After careful consideration of all pros and cons of the scheme, the SAC concluded that the scheme has not served the desired purpose and is no longer relevant in the present context,” the spokesman said.

The SAC  which also approved enhancement in the waiting list from the existing 33.33 percent to 50 percent of the posts advertised, which shall extend to 100 percent wherever the number of posts is 10 or less, either under normal selection or under the provisions of SRO-202.

The recommendation in this regard was made by the J&K Services Selection Board (JKSSB), an official spokesperson said.

It is pertinent to mention here that departments had been facing problems in filling vacancies referred for selection to the SSB due to non-joining of selectees. It has been observed that the Board conducts a common test for different non-gazetted posts with similar qualification/eligibility. A candidate applied for more than one post, gets actually selected for a number of posts but in the end chooses the post of his/her choice.

In this way the other posts for which selection process is undertaken remain unfilled. These vacancies could not be filled from the same selection process in view of the limit on the operation of the waiting list.

This resulted in multiple advertisements for the vacancies referred to the SSB which not only was cumbersome and time-consuming but also resulted in wastage of resources without any dividends.

This also deprived a candidate from selection who figured beyond the 33.33 percent wait-list despite availability of vacancies in view of extant regulations.

The new regulations which shall come into force with immediate effect shall enable utilization of vacancies referred to SSB for selection, thereby addressing the aspirations of the educated youth, the spokesperson said.

SAC also directed the General Administration Department (GAD) to incorporate a similar provision for Gazetted posts in the relevant rules in consultation with Jammu & Kashmir Public Service Commission.

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