J&K Assembly passes Property Transfer Bill

The J&K Assembly passed the Property Transfer Amendment Bill clearing decks for leasing out land for construction of power projects for a period of 40 years.

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Saturday
passed the Property Transfer Amendment Bill clearing decks for
leasing out land for construction of power projects for a
period of 40 years.

The House earlier during the day saw opposition PDP and
ruling Congress on the same page regarding some amendments to
the Bill moved by state Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla.

The objective of the Bill is to transfer the requisite
land on lease basis for 90 years in favour of Jammu and
Kashmir Chenab Valley Power Projects (Pvt Ltd) (JKCVPPL) for
construction, commissioning, maintenance and running of three
hydro-power projects -- Pakuldul, Keru and Kawar -- located on
Chenab river in erstwhile Doda district.

Leader of the Opposition, Mehbooba Mufti moved amendments
in the proposed bill that any agreement to be executed with
JKCVPPL shall be done in the name of Jammu and Kashmir Power
Development Corporation alone and with a lease period not
exceeding 35 years.

Almost similar amendments were moved by Congress` Ghulam
Ahmed Mir, Abdul Majid Wani, GM Saroori and MS Niaz that
Chenab Valley Power Projects Limited appearing in the proposed
Bill be replaced by J&K State Power Development Corporation
and the maximum period of the lease should not exceed 40

Opposing the Bill, Mehbooba said that "we have right on
our resources as we are the custodians of our resources."

"Although we want the resources to be tapped for our
benefits and also give fillip to the economy of the state, but
leasing out land for over 90 years and also creation of this
new JKCVPPL...we do not see any benefits as we have
experienced in the past that the state did not benefit by
leasing out the projects to NHPC," the PDP leader said.

"We do not need JKCVPPL as we have our state-owned Power
Development Corporation (PDC) best for this job," she said,
adding that the maximum time period for leasing out the land
should not be more than 35 years.

Similarly, Congress` Mir batted strongly for keeping the
lease period maximum up to 40 years as he said that the life
span of the most power stations is 35 years.

Mir said local MLAs and people of the area, which will be
affected by construction of power projects, should be made
stakeholders in this process and put on board.

The Revenue Minister, after a marathon discussion with
some members, agreed to the one of the Congress` amendment --
the maximum lease period will be 40 years only.

Bhalla further said that all the concerns of members
regarding employment to locals, local area development and
other checks and balances in the newly set up corporation will
be addressed.

The amendments brought by PDP members Mehbooba Mufti,
Nizam-ud-Din Bhat, Abdul Haq Khan, Choudhary Zulfikar Ali and
AR Veeri were rejected on the floor of House by voice-vote.

The Bill was passed after amendments introduced by
Congress` GA Mir, Wani, Saroori and Niaz were withdrawn after
the government assured them of looking into their demands.