The proposal for an enhanced rehabilitation package for Kashmiri Pandits was approved by the state government and sent to the Centre nearly two years back but the UPA-led government did not take a decision on it, said Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The proposal was approved by the cabinet on June 20, 2012. It was followed up with letters and reminders during the various times the Prime Minister visited the state,” Abdullah told HT.
Besides rehabilitation, the proposal also promised an extensive employment package. The state proposed creating nearly 6,000 new jobs for Pandits willing to shift base back to the valley.
“We have provided nearly 1,500 jobs already,” said Abdullah.
In 2008, the UPA regime had announced a package for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants. The assistance offered for reconstruction or construction of houses was capped at Rs. 7.5 lakh.
“We realized that Rs. 7.5 lakh was too less to construct a whole house,” added Abdullah. After deliberations with various KP groups, the figure of Rs. 20 lakh was arrived at.
This assistance was 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 will get the Rs. 20 lakh assistance irrespective of time when they disposed their properties.
Officers from the state government have had many rounds of meetings with the Centre. Abdullah is likely to discuss the issue with defence minister Arun Jaitley, who will be visiting the state on Saturday.