PM’s plan for Kashmiri Pandits a non-starter
Ten months have elapsed since the Rs 1600-crore relief package was announced for the Kashmiri Pandit community by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But it has not yet been implemented, reports Sonika Raina.india Updated: Feb 16, 2009 00:03 IST
Ten months have elapsed since the Rs 1600-crore relief package was announced for the Kashmiri Pandit community by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But it has not yet been implemented.
The package, announced on April 25 last, includes incentives like housing grants, job and education opportunities and waiver of interest loans to encourage the Pandits to resettle in the Kashmir valley.
According to the package plan, 6000 Pandit youths are to be absorbed by the state government with the help of Central government, families would be given Rs 7.5 lakhs each in installments for the construction of new houses in the Valley, and those who have lost their property would be compensated.
Kashmiri Pandits have filled the forms for the jobs to be given as a part of the package but there was a consent form attached to it that made return to the Valley mandatory.
Youth Wing, All-India Kashmiri Samaj (YWAIKS) chairman RK Bhat said, "We demand immediate implementation of the relief package and it should not be given with terms and conditions."
Agnishekhar, Panun Kashmir convener, too supported the demand and said, "The Prime Minister had announced the package for our community but he should have enquired as to what had happened since then. Our community needs action, not mere promises."
"Return to the Valley is an independent, serious and separate issue. It should not be mixed up with the relief package," he added.
However, Vinod Koul, relief commissioner, Jammu, said, "We have received a number of applications from the Kashmiri Pandits who are willing to go back to the Valley. The implementation of the package will be completed soon."