J&K Assembly passes Property Transfer Bill
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Last Updated: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 21:59
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 years.

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.


First Published: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 21:59

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