Only one Kashmiri Pandit family returned to Valley: Centre
Only one Kashmiri Pandit family has returned to the Kashmir Valley since a comprehensive package for the displaced community was announced in 2008, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju while giving this information also said Government will review the package to remove bottlenecks and shortcomings, if any.
A comprehensive package worth Rs 1,618.40 crore was announced by the Centre in 2008 for return and rehabilitation of migrant Kashmiri families through grant of financial assistance for purchase or construction of houses, renovation of damaged or dilapidated houses, construction of transit accommodation, continuation of cash relief and employment, among others.
“The package is being implemented by the Jammu and Kashmir government and till now, one family has returned to the valley availing the benefit of Rs 7.5 lakh for construction of house,” Rijiju said in a written reply.
As many as 1,474 state government jobs have been provided to the newly appointed migrant youths who have been kept in newly constructed 1,010 transit accommodations in the Kashmir valley — 505 at Vessu in Kulgam, 130 at Hawal in Pulwama of South Kashmir, 250 at Khanpur in Baramulla, and remaining 125 in Kupwara and other places of North Kashmir under the package.
In reply to another question, he said at present 60,452 families of Kashmiri migrants were registered in the country out of which 38,119 were in Jammu, 19,338 in Delhi and 1,995 families in other states.
Migrants mainly comprising Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs had moved out of the Valley after the onset of militancy in 1990.
The government from time to time has announced packages for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants such as in 2004 and 2008, he said and added, “the review of such plans and packages is a continuous process and will continue to remain so in order to remove the bottlenecks and shortcomings, if any.”
“The government has been providing cash relief of Rs 1,650 per head per month (maximum Rs 6,600 per family per month) plus dry ration (9-kg rice, 2-kg wheat per person per month and 1-kg sugar per family per month) to the eligible 17,248 families living in Jammu,” said Rijiju.
The government of NCT of Delhi, too, provides cash relief of Rs 1,650 per head per month (maximum Rs 6,600 per family per month) to eligible 3,385 families from its own budget, he added.
He said that besides the 2008 package, Prime Minister’s package for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits was announced in 2004 under which 5,242 two-room tenements were constructed in Jammu and 200 at Sheikhpora in Budgam district of the Valley. Of these 200 flats, 31 have been alloted to local migrants who migrated within the Valley.