Kashmir Pandits To Return Valley In Phased Manner
23 June 2008
: The much awaited and much wanted process of return of Kashmir Pandits back to Valley has commenced; through with a slow pace. The office of Relief Commissioner Jammu has issued around six-thousand forms to the KP families willing to return to Valley after undertaking the special rehabilitation package announced by state and central government in less than a week time. Exactly after nineteen years of exile Kashmiri pandits are registering their will to return back to their homes in Valley they left after eruption of militancy in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1989. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Jammu on May 25 had announced the rehabilitation package for Kashmiri migrants who intend to return back to Valley. The comprehensive rehabilitation package contains various facilities for those who submit their consent for return includes Rupees 7.5 lakh for housing, one lakh for agriculture, 1.5 Lakh for Horticulture, self employment loans for to the tune of rupees five lakh, employment package under which a lumsum amount of rupees six thousand would be paid to the persons appointed under this package. Following the announcement of rehabilitation of Kashmiri pandits, Jammu and Kashmir government has started the process of registration of persons desirous of returning to Kashmir. Thousands of migrants throng Relief commissioner's office for collection of forms which commences from June 17. The process of registration would be completed in three phases, Assistant commissioner Relief (ACR); Kusam Badyal told News Agency of Kashmir adding response from people of old age group is seen. 'We have till date issued about 6000 forms out of which 230 forms duly filled-in have been received so far', Relief Commissioner, Vinod Koul told NAK adding the registration forms of displaced migrants, who are desirous to return to Kashmir valley and settle there would be consolidated next week. 'Over 6000 registration forms have been made available to migrants, who can get them from the office of Relief Commissioner. As distribution of forms increases, more forms would be made available,' he said, adding 'two hundred and thirty people have submitted their registration forms back after filling required information in the office of Nodal officer of Relief organization. 'Let us see the response of the community for return package announced by the prime minister. Migrants interested in return to the valley have to furnish details so that the government can take measures for their honorable rehabilitation,' he added. He said the form seeks details of the facility the community needs in the Valley and how they want to be settled, besides employment facilities, the government will also continue relief, provide transit accommodation, scholarships to school-going children and assistance for renovation and construction of houses. He said that after making all arrangements for them the first batch on experimental basis would be send 'likely' some where in last week of July. He however said that the exact date in this regard would be announced by the government. He said the comprehensive rehabilitation package contains various facilities for those who submit their consent for return includes an amount of rupees 7.5 lakh for housing, one lakh for agriculture, 1.5 Lakh for Horticulture, self employment loans for to the tune of rupees five lakh, employment package under which a lumsum amount of rupees six thousand would be paid to the persons appointed under this package. He said the interests incurred on the loan amount borrowed by the migrants willing to return to valley would be waved off and fresh self employment soft loans would be provided to them for starting their own business. School going children of such migrants who would return to valley will be given scholarship of rupees seven hundred and fifty per month. 'Prime ministers rehabilitation-return package for Kashmiri pandits is a welcome step and I am willing to return to home in Kashmir and live with the Muslim brothern there', Poshker Nath told News Agency of Kashmir, adding, but government must show sincerity in its decision. He said such announcements were made so many times during the last one decade and nothing was done in this regard. 'How can we forget the place where we have spent our child-hood' he added. A four page registration form which is available at RC office would seek consent from the members of displaced community interested in returning to their homes and hearths in the valley. Kashmiri pandit, Surinder Koul son of Late Kashmir Nath Koul actually from Rainawari Srinagar presently putting up in Jammu submitted his form after filling in the details, seems to be enthusiastic about his return to kashmir. So as to give practical shape to the Prime Minister's rehabilitation package which includes Rs 7.5 lakh one time amount for building houses, besides jobs, relief, trade packages in valley for their return. Terming it a big decision, Kaku Ji Pandita while talking to News Agency of Kashmir said that that all the people of his age group has regards for the Prime Minister Shaib and welcome to the announcement for rehabilitation of migrants. 'But no mention about the relaxation of age in respect of the youth who at the time of migration completed their graduation and are still in a poor working condition', he argued and appealed to the government to consider the age relaxation for all such unemployed graduate youth. He said come what may we will return and work there along with the Muslims but government must announce relaxation in upper age limit for at least one year. Meanwhile, the Director General of Police, Bihar, S C Jha on Sunday ordered a Bihar Military Police (BMP) commandant to visit Udhampur to look into the matter. BMP (6) Commandant Ramnarayan Singh left for Udhampur on Sunday night. In all, 370 police recruits from Bihar had gone for training at Udhampur and Jagnoo on June 1 for a 40-week course. DGP Jha too suspect that the charges appear to be frivolous, though it is premature to say anything concrete on the issue.