February 2017 News

No Plan To Set Up Separate Colonies For Pandits: Centre

7 February 2017

New Delhi: Putting all speculation to rest, the Central government today informed Parliament there was no proposal for setting up separate colonies for Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir. Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said this while replying to a written question from Ashwini Kumar of the Congress in the Lok Sabha. The minister made it clear that there was also no proposal for setting up sainik colonies in the state. This issue had become a political controversy in the Kashmir valley when reports appearing in the media suggested that separate sainik colonies could be set up for security personnel. Ahir's reply flies in the face of assertions made by some BJP leaders and officials in Jammu that separate colonies were being set up for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley who had migrated from Kashmir at the onset of militancy in 1990. As many as 62,000 Pandit families are registered as migrants of which 40,000 are in Jammu, 20,000 in Delhi and 2,000 in the rest of the country. The minister informed the House that the government had approved only one scheme on November 18, 2015, under which additional 3,000 jobs would be provided to the Pandits besides the construction of 6,000 transit accommodations for them.