R S Pura, Jammu, Sep 25 (UNI) Proprietary rights of about 21.5 lakh kanals state land, having market value of Rs 16,000 crore, is being given to the farmers under the Roshni Act in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here today.
''Mr Azad, who was addressing a public rally in this sector near Indo-Pak international border, formally launched the programme for transfer of proprietary rights to farmers in J and K.
''The whopping amount was three times bigger than the state's annual budget. Yet the government decided to transfer the land free of cost to farmers who had been tilling it for years, but had no ownership rights over it,'' said the Chief Minister.
The government, Mr Azad said, had sacrificed huge financial benefit amounting to Rs 16,000 crore, the market value of land -- for the interests of the farmers.
The Chief Minister, however, clarified that Rs 100 per kanal being charged from the beneficiary farmers is the cost of the papers to be prepared for the transfer of proprietary rights and not the cost of the land.
Of the 21.5 lakh kanals of land to be transferred to farmers, 11.5 lakhs kanals are in Jammu division while the rest is in Kashmir division, he informed.
The Chief Minister said the objective of the Roshni Act was to make the farmers owners of the land that was in their possession for long and at the same time ensure that the state is agriculturally self-reliant.
''Jammu and Kashmir is still to reach that stage as at present it imports 50 pr cent foodgrains. With the farmers getting ownership rights on 21.5 lakh kanals of land, the agriculture production is going to increase substantially,'' he said.