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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

New package for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in offing

PTI  New Delhi, June 08, 2014
First Published: 18:17 IST(8/6/2014) | Last Updated: 18:22 IST(8/6/2014)

A comprehensive plan is being worked out for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley and their rehabilitation with the Narendra Modi government according top priority to the issue.

Enhanced financial assistance, security to life and property, government jobs and other employment opportunities and subsidies ration will be part of the package that could be announced as incentive for the return of Pandits, government officials said.

"The discussions are at a very preliminary stage. The new Home Minister Rajnath Singh has been given a detailed presentation on the status of the displaced Kashmiri Pandits," an official said.

BJP election manifesto also mentioned that it was committed to ensure return of Kashmiri Pandits with full dignity. The number of displaced people post 1990 migration from the valley following militant activities has increased by six-seven lakhs.

According to plans, the new package will be more attractive than the one announced by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April 2008 for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants.

That package included assistance of Rs. 7.5 lakh per family for reconstruction for fully or partially damaged houses, assistance of Rs. 2 lakh per family for dilapidated houses, assistance of Rs. 7.5 lakh per family for purchase of a house in Group Housing Societies for those who have sold their properties during the period of turmoil in 1989.

Like the previous one, returnee migrant families will be provided transit accommodation during the interim period when they undertake the reconstruction or repair of their houses.

Those returnee families, who may not be provided transit accommodation, would be given rental and incidental expenses.

All of them will be provided security if they feel insecure anywhere, officials said.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he was looking forward to work with the NDA government on return of displaced Kashmiri Pandit community to the Valley.

"I look forward to working with the new government as they unveil their plans for the honourable return of the displaced Pandit community," Omar had tweeted.

While extending his good wishes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the occasion of Khir Bhawani festival, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh has said that the country was committed to the "dignified" return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley.

Manoj Bhan, an activist working for the welfare of the community, said every member of the Kashmiri community wants to go back to their homeland but there have to be conducive atmosphere, proper security and constitutional safeguard.

"We do not want to go back as a tourist, nor do we want to live a cantonment life. There has to be a clarity on what kind of rehabilitation government wants to offer," he said.

Bhan said reservation of Assembly and Parliamentary seats for the community, financial assistance, reservation in educational institutions and a CGHS-like scheme for the community should be included in any new package for the Kashmiri Pandits.

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