DPAP wants to build J&K as welfare state, says Ghulam Nabi Azad

Udhampur/Jammu, May 23 (PTI) Democratic Progressive Azad Party chief Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said his party wants to build Jammu and Kashmir as a welfare state where people themselves are willing to pay the taxes and sought their whole-hearted support.

Azad also came down heavily on the government for its eviction drive to retrieve state and ‘Roshni’ land and said he will bring back the “Roshni scheme” if his party forms the government.

The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act — popularly called the “Roshni scheme” — was enacted in 2001 with the twin objectives of generating resources to finance power projects and conferring proprietary rights to occupants of state lands.

The act initially envisaged conferring proprietary rights for around 1,02,750 hectares to the occupants of which only 15.85 per cent land was approved for vesting of ownership rights.

The scheme was repealed by Satya Pal Malik, the then-governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in November 2018. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court in October 2020 declared the act “illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable” and ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of land under the law.

“It was the Democratic Progressive Azad Party that fought a regressive anti-people move of land eviction by the government in the winters (earlier this year) and forced (the administration) to withdraw the order. Such peaceful protests and political battles will be common to the Democratic Progressive Azad Party when it comes to the interests of the poor and the needy people,” Azad said while addressing a workers’ convention in Udhampur.

Azad added his party is ready to face the consequences for its pro-people policies.

“We can even face lathis on the roads if needed to protect the interests of the people,” he said.

Terming the retrieval of ‘Roshni land’ from people as a “disaster”, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said he will bring back the act if his party comes to power.

The Democratic Progressive Azad Party stands firm in its commitment to justice and inclusiveness, embracing individuals regardless of religion, region or caste, Azad said.

“We will continue to fight for the rights of the people, irrespective of caste, religion, and (we) will have no space for those who resort to discrimination among people The Democratic Progressive Azad Party is a hope in these trying times that only believes in healthy politics unlike parties that have no agenda other than to divide people along religious lines,” he said.