29784 PoK refugee families await Central aid

Only 15 per cent of the Rs 2,000-crore development package released in a year

In what could be described as a “casual approach” towards the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir refugees living in the state, the Centre has released only 15 per cent of the Rs 2,000-crore package approved for them last year.
Furthermore, only 6,600 families of the total 36,384 living in J&K have been benefited while 29,784 are yet to get the financial assistance.
Central Public Information Officer, J&K Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ram Krishna Swarnakar said this in response to a RTI application filed by Jammu-based activist Rohit Choudhary.
“The Government of India has sanctioned a package of Rs 2,000 crore for providing financial assistance of Rs 5.5 lakh per family to 36,384 displaced families of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) (1947) and Chhamb (1965 and 1971), living in Jammu and Kashmir. Rs 308 crore (approximately) has been released to 6,601 families through the direct benefit transfer mode directly in their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts,” the Central Public Information Officer said in the RTI reply.
On November 30 last year, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had approved the Home Ministry’s proposal of a Rs 2,000-crore development package for displaced PoK families. Most of themhave been living in the Jammu region after being displaced from PoK post Independence.
The activist, whose family also got displaced in 1947, expressed dismay over the Centre’s “casual approach” vis-à-vis providing financial assistance to displaced persons from PoK and alleged that the Central government had also discriminated against the displaced and affected people living in the Jammu region.
“In January this year, the state government had disclosed in the Assembly that of the Rs 1,200 crore sanctioned under the Prime Minister’s Development Package for the 2014 flood victims, Rs 1,024.07 crore had been released to the affected people, which comes to over 85 per cent of the total funds sanctioned under the plan. In case of refugees, the case is quite different as only 15 per cent funds were released in a year which is unfortunate and discriminatory,” Choudhary said.
Rajiv Chuni, chairman of SOS International, said: “The state is primarily at fault. We took up the matter with the Prime Minister’s Office and conveyed to it that the cases of 12,000 PoK families were passed but only 6,600 families have been given the benefit. The PMO informed us that it was the duty of the state government to ensure Aadhaar linking of their bank accounts but it has not happened. In some cases, we used magnified glasses to trace the PoK refugees in government records.”