Jammu & Kashmir Government For Doubling The Monthly Relief To Kashmiri Pandit Migrants

Jammu & Kashmir Government For Doubling The Monthly Relief To Kashmiri Pandit Migrants

20 September 2012
The Economic Times
Masood Hussain

Srinagar: J&K has recommended doubling the monthly relief to the Kashmiri Pandit migrants living outside the valley. This is a step towards helping them sustain lives till they properly return and get rehabilitated. 'Till the time their return takes place smoothly, all facilities need to be provided to them at the migrant township and other places in Jammu', Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told Apex Advisory Committee meeting of Kashmir migrants. 'We have already recommended enhancement of cash assistance to the migrant families from present ceiling of Rs 5000 to Rs 10000 per family per month to the central government.' He said a number of migrant families are solely surviving on this relief. In order to prevent pilferage of the relief money, the State Relief Organization is initiating dispersing relief online. Migrants are being encouraged to open accounts with different nationalized banks so that the process is implemented swiftly. 'They are integral part of our society,' Omar said asserted his government would do whatever possible to facilitate Pandits return and rehabilitation. 'There is a need to create conducive and palatable atmosphere for large scale return of the migrants and the appointment of Kashmiri migrant youth under Prime Minister's Package in the Valley and their stay here has paved the way in this direction.' The Committee approved conversion of 588 one room tenements at Purkhoo in two-room dwelling units to accommodate equal number of most deserving and needy migrant families. It would cost Rs 8.43 crore. Also approved was Rs 15.19 crore water supply scheme for the Jagti township where around 25000 migrants are living near Nagrota (Jammu). On the livelihoods front, the committee approved constructing 160 shops in the new township on self financing basis. Already, the government has accorded sanction to the relaxation of upper age limit prescribed for entry into government service by 3 years as one time exception in favour of Kashmiri migrants to facilitate recruitment of eligible candidates against available vacancies caused due to de-reservation of posts and also due to non-joining of selected candidates under Prime Minister's package. At the same time, the Omar government is seriously considering seeking an enhanced package from the centre to encourage migrants to return home. It has become inevitable as no migrant family has agreed to avail the benefits of Rs 1618.40 crores package that Prime Minister announced for their return in April 2008. 'We require a breakthrough and it will be possible when some of them actually return,' a senior officer in the state revenue ministry, overlooking the welfare of the migrants, said. 'We may require luring some of them by offering more attractive package.' The existing package envisage a Rs 750 thousand grant for acquiring a new house under group housing scheme, free transit accommodation, continuation of the benefits they avail as migrants in Jammu or elsewhere, scholarships for student, one time grant for resuming agricultural activities and waiver of interest on loans besides 15000 jobs. 'Initially, there was some interest as a few thousand families agreed to avail the package but somehow it did not take off later,' the officer said. 'The younger generation feels adjusted unlike the older ones who feel uprooted and this could be factor in their indecisiveness.' Of the 3000 jobs that the state advertised for migrant Pandit young, 2148 were actually appointed. But only 1414 joined their services in Kashmir. During their Kashmir posting, they live in transit accommodation that the state government has set up in last two years. 'We have Rs 60 crores for raisin 495 units at four places and we are already through with 335 units,' Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla said.