Roshni scam illuminated Gupkar bungalows but extinguished hope for the poor: Dr Jitendra Singh

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JAMMU: Firing a fresh salvo at rival parties in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP leader and Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said that the Roshni scam had illuminated the ‘Gupkar bungalows’ but extinguished hope for the poor.

He said the Roshni scheme was launched in 2001 by the then government with an envisaged objective of raising an amount of Rs 25,000 crore for setting up power projects which were to provide electricity to every household, including those of economically weaker sections of society.

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“However, in the final bargain, what was witnessed was that all the loot out of the scam went into the construction of lavish bungalows at Gupkar Road and other VIP locations, whereas the poor neither got the electricity nor the house,” said Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel.

“Roshni scam had illuminated the Gupkar bungalows, but extinguished hope for the poor,” he told PTI.

The BJP has been targeting leaders of the Congress, PDP and NC including former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who lives in a bungalow on Gupkar Road in Srinagar, over alleged encroachment of government and forest land.

The NC leader has, however, denied the charge.

On November 1, the Union Territory administration cancelled all land transfers that took place under the JK State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 – also known as the Roshni Act – under which 2.5 lakh acres of land was to be transferred to the existing occupants.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had declared the Roshni Act as “illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable” and ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of the land under this law.

Singh said over the last decade, the BJP had been consistently demanding a thorough and impartial probe into the “embezzlement” that had taken place in the name of the Roshni scheme.

But, he alleged, successive governments run by the National Conference, Congress and the PDP did not agree to the probe and instead sought to “cover-up” the scam because the ministers and the chief ministers of the then governments were themselves beneficiaries.

It is only now under the Modi government, said Singh, when the investigative agencies were given a free hand to carry on their task that the entire scam has got unearthed and the skeletons are tumbling out.

While the “Gupkar governments robbed the land” that should have legitimately gone to the poor, he said, it is under Prime Minister Modi that targets have been set to construct a house for each family under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).