On PM's Table, A CBM For Valley: Rehab For Kids Of Militants Killed
21 April 2007
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Reaching out to Kashmiris, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to announce a relief and rehabilitation package for children of militants killed in encounters with security forces at the Third Roundtable this Tuesday. Official sources confirmed to The Sunday Express that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Home Ministry are working on this key recommendation of a working group chaired by Hamid Ansari, chief of the Minorities Commission. By suggesting an amendment to the State Regulatory Order No 43, Ansari's group is of the view that the state should look after the next of kin of killed militants as their children are innocent. The 1994 order provides for employment and relief to the next of kin of those killed in militancy-related incidents but not to those related to the militants killed. The Home Ministry is for broad-basing this decision so that children of innocent civilians killed in militant encounters or cross-firing are also provided relief and rehabilitation. Reports of four of the five working groups, announced at the Second Roundtable in Srinagar last May, have been discussed in the PMO. These, along with Justice (retd) Sageer Ahmed's report on the future of Centre-state relations, will be presented at Tuesday's meeting. The M K Rasgotra-led group on measures across the Line of Control (LoC) has suggested that the Centre may engage Pakistan on issuing multi-purpose security identity cards to people to facilitate faster access in the event of any emergency on either side. Cross-border travel right now is bogged down by security and red-tape. Besides the opening of the Kargil-Skardu route, the Rasgotra group has identified six more points on the LoC to promote cross-connectivity. However, the Home Ministry has said this should be done in a more 'calibrated' manner as there is hardly any cross-LoC traffic across Uri or Poonch. While the N.C. Saxena group has suggested a series of steps to improve administrative governance, the C. Rangarajan group on economic revival (see box) wants the Centre to hand over some hydroelectric projects to the state government. The decisions Following decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by T K A Nair, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: • PMO to request Environment Ministry to expedite denotification of land in the Hirpur Wildlife Sanctuary for the construction of Mughal Road. • J&K government to release $9.48 million for ADB-funded sewerage and drainage projects in Srinagar. • Power Ministry to facilitate tying up of financial provisions of cost-escalation of Baglihar hydro-electric project and strengthening statewide transmission and distribution network • Expedite environmental clearance for Pakad Dul hydroelectric Project and follow-up on the PM's decision to transfer the project from NHPC to the State. • Bursar Hydroelectric project to be handed over to state government • Domel-Katra road and Srinagar-Kargil-Leh all- weather road to be completed by March 2008 and 2011 respectively.