A Rs 2,000 crore package allocated by the Centre for the rehabilitation of refugees from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) will remain unspent in the financial year ending March 31 as the Jammu and Kashmir government is yet to come up with a list of beneficiaries.
According to sources, the state administration has not been able to compile the list of those entitled to the cash, even though initial assessments put the number at 35,000 families.
Senior officials in the state department told Hindustan Times, on condition of anonymity, the process of identifying such families is a time consuming one and admitted that the money will remain unspent for the current financial calendar.
“Advertisements have been issued in the newspapers for the families to submit their documents in a given format. The process should be complete soon,” an official said.
The sluggish pace of work on the issue, which found a mention in the agenda for alliance (between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Peoples Democratic Party) has irked BJP president Amit Shah and national general secretary and in-charge of the state Ram Madhav, who made their displeasure evident during recent meetings with state unit functionaries.
Citizenship of the state and a fiscal compensation for PoJK refugees, who arrived in 1947, 1965 and 1971, was the BJP’s poll promise.
The home ministry first referred to the disputed region as Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and not as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) last year. The reference was in line with the BJP’s official stance that the two regions of the state – Muslim-majority Kashmir and Hindu-majority Jammu – aren’t separate but one unified entity.
A source told HT the issue of one-time settlement for the refugees, who have been living in the state for decades, was an issue that the state BJP leaders had been flagging, but the growing consternation among the refugees over the delay in compensation has not gone down well with the saffron party’s top brass in Delhi.
In Jammu, groups of PoJK refugees have been protesting the complex procedure for filling out their details. They have alleged most families that do not have a state subject and Aadhaar card are finding it tough to enlist their names in the list of beneficiaries.