Centre Approves Rs 78-cr Package For Migrants
10 August 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The Centre has cleared a Rs 78 cr relief package for the border migrants involving allotment of plots of 5 marlas and compensation among nearly 6070 families of 21 villages in Chhamb and Akhnoor constituencies of district Jammu. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to visit Akhnoor tentatively on September 22 along with Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Housing & Urban Development Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to hand over allotment papers of land among the border migrants in a function to be organized by the PCC (I). The sources in the Congress party said that the package was cleared in a Cabinet meeting held in the Union capital late last evening. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil gave their nod to the package after the issue was strongly projected by Mr Azad. The State Government had sent the package to the Union Government about four years back. It had demanded the package for constructing alternative shelters at safer places, away from firing range near Akhnoor and Jourian for the border migrants. During Kargil war, more than 6000 families from this border belt of Akhnoor tehsil had migrated after shelling from Pakistani side. They were taking refuge in schools and tented accommodation generated by the State Government. They were leading miserable life in the camps. Most of these villagers, who were falling victims to the bullets had migrated several times earlier. The State Government took the decision to construct alternative accommodation for them with basic facilities so that they may shift during crisis. Member Parliament Madan Lal Sharma, who hails from Akhnoor told the Excelsior that Mrs Gandhi is likely to visit Akhnoor tentatively on September 22 to distribute relief and land allotment papers among the border migrants in a function to be organised by Pradesh Congress Committee. Mr Sharma said the package got materialised with the constant and sincere efforts of Speaker Tara Chand, MLA Akhnoor, Sham Sharma besides himself. Meanwhile, Speaker Tara Chand has extended gratitude to Dr Singh, Mrs Gandhi, Mr Patil and Mr Azad for their support to the border migrants who were struggling for this package for the last more than five years. He pointed out that the previous NDA Government had rejected this package but due to the initiative of Mr Azad it was released. Responding to a question, the Speaker said that land for the plots has already been identified by the State Government. A component of Rs 8 cr compensation for land has been kept besides Rs 10 cr for raising infrastructure. Each family besides a plot would get Rs 50,000 cash relief and Rs 10,000 for house-hold items. A compensation of Rs 10,000 will be given for the cattle lost in shelling. He disclosed that Rs 7 cr was earlier released for repair of damaged houses by the Government.