Return of Kashmiri Pandits: Omar for 200% hike in package, job per family for non-migrants
Pressing for return of Hindus who migrated in 1990 from Kashmir valley, the J&K cabinet on Wednesday recommended hike in the assistance package from Rs 7.5 lakh to 20-25 lakh, more than 200 percent hike, and promises a government job per family for those living in the valley.india Updated: Jun 20, 2012 22:03 IST
Pressing for return of Hindus who migrated in 1990 from Kashmir valley, the J&K cabinet on Wednesday recommended hike in the assistance package from Rs 7.5 lakh to 20-25 lakh, more than 200 percent hike, and promises a government job per family for those living in the valley.
“The package earlier was not attractive and could not rope in people. The new assistance package of Rs 20-25 lakh will attract people,” said state relief and revenue minister Raman Bhalla.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah, who chaired the cabinet meeting today, recommended the proposal for enhancement of package of incentives. The state government will approach to the Centre for the additional financial assistance under the Prime Minister’s Package on return and rehabilitation of Pandits.
In 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced Rs 1,867-crore package for those Pandits who migrated from Kashmir valley in the wake of heightened militancy and threats in 1990.
The package aimed at accommodating 6,000 Pandit youths in the state and offered Rs 7.5 lakh financial assistance to families intending to return. It provided for housing, transit accommodation, continuation of present cash relief, students scholarship and employment.
For rural Pandit population, the package offered a waiver of interest on loans. The migrants are entitled to cash assistance for re-cultivation of agriculture and horticulture land up to Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.50 lakh respectively.
The Prime Minister’s package, however, did not yielded expected results with only 1,446 youth opting for jobs in four years.
“The new package recommended by the government is good. Besides the package, the Muslims of the valley have to come forward in helping in return of migrants to the valley,” said Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti president Sanjay Tickoo, a Srinagar-based Kashmiri Pandit who did not leave the valley.
Tickoo also welcomed the government’s move to provide a government job to each Pandit family that stayed back in the valley. “This will stop further migration of Pandits. We have around 465 unemployed youth in the valley,” said Tickoo.
There are 808 Pandit families that never migrated from the valley, according to the state revenue department. These families would not come under the PM's package earlier.
The state government’s relief organization puts the number of families that migrated in 1990 at 57,000. Among the migrants included a few Muslim and Sikh families too.