In its first step towards fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, the home ministry is all set to approve an enhanced package of Rs. 20 lakh per family for re-construction of their houses in the Valley.
Home minister Rajnath Singh indicated his approval of the enhanced assistance at a review meeting on Thursday. The assistance will be provided under the revised Prime Minister’s package to encourage the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandit families.
“The Union home ministry has received a proposal from the Omar Abdullah government in J&K in this regard. It will be formally approved and implemented soon,” said a ministry source.
Later, in his tweets Singh highlighted two issues — rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and curbing cross-border infiltration — as the two key issues that he had focused on during Thursday’s review meeting. Singh said he instructed officials to “take Kashmiri migrants into confidence” and to “work on steps to be taken for their safe return to the Valley”. He also asked the officials to strengthen measures to curb infiltration from the other side of the border.
The UPA regime had in 2008 announced a package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants in which the assistance offered for reconstruction or construction of houses was capped at Rs. 7.5 lakh.
This assistance was also only applicable to families of Kashmiri Pandits who had sold their properties between 1989 and 1997 when The J&K Migrant Immovable Property (Preservation, Protection and Restraint of Distress Sale) Act was enacted.
Once the plan is approved, the families would get the Rs. 20 lakh assistance irrespective of time when they disposed of their properties in the Valley.