A day after the Centre denied having any plan for separate Pandit townships in Kashmir, the government has decided to enhance the monthly cash relief for the community.
Effective from May 1, the cash relief has been enhanced from Rs 1,650 to Rs 2,500 per person-- a maximum of Rs 10,000 for a family of four or above. According to sources, the Centre government has sent a directive to the state in this regard on Wednesday.
This according to the community was a long pending demand of the migrants. The proposal for their relief enhancement was submitted to previous state government one year ago.
"It was long overdue. The enhancement was approved eight months back but has now been implemented,'' said Motilal Kaul of All India Kashmiri Pandit Samaj.
The step has come a day after the ministry of home affairs said that there is no proposal to create separate zones for Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir.
In a written reply in the Parliament on Tuesday, minister of state for home affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said, "No proposal to create separate zones exclusively for the Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu and Kashmir is under consideration."
According to the MHA statement, "The number of registered Kashmiri migrant families is about 62,000. About 40,668 registered Kashmiri migrant families are residing in Jammu, 19,338 in Delhi and 2,000 are settled in other states."
The statement added that the government announced a comprehensive package amounting to Rs 1,618.40 crore in 2008 for the return and rehabilitation of the Kashmiri migrants, which includes financial assistance for purchase/construction/ repair of houses, construction of transit accommodation, continuation of cash relief, scholarship to students, employment/self-employment, assistance to the agriculturists and the horticulturist and waiver of interest on unpaid loan.