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J&K government lines up incentives to bring back pandits

Under the new proposal, the Omar Abdullah government wants increase in the incentives from Rs7.5 lakh to Rs20 lakh for construction of houses in 1500 sq ft area.

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Jammu and Kashmir government has approached the centre seeking increase in the incentives under Prime Minister’s package for the pandits who intend to return to the valley. Under the new proposal, the Omar Abdullah government wants increase in the incentives from Rs7.5 lakh to Rs20 lakh for construction of houses in 1500 sq ft area.

The government wants centre to pay Rs4 lakh for renovation of partially and dilapidated condition houses and scholarship to school going children beyond class 12.  Plus they want enhancement in ceiling from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh for income generating units. The state government has also sought Rs 15000 per kanal per family for restoration of agriculture and orchard land.

“The government has approached the centre for further enhancing the relief of Kashmiri migrant to 8000 per month per family, though it has already increased it from Rs4000 to Rs5000 per family”, said Raman Bhalla, J&K minister for revenue, relief and rehabilitation.

Official figures reveal that around 58,697 families have left their homes due to the onset of militancy since 1990. Of whom around 38,119 families are registered with the Jammu and Kashmir government as migrants.

The return of the Kashmiri migrants to valley is a part of the 2008 prime minister’s financial package of Rs1,618 crore.  Under this package Rs7.5 lakh financial assistance was to be given to any family which will undertake renovation/reconstruction of their houses located in the valley. Besides other things, nearly 6000 government jobs were to be provided to Kashmiri pandits in the valley.

“The government has created 3000 jobs in various departments under PMs package for unemployed educated youth. Under the first phase 2,120 selections have been made by the Service Selection Board adding 1,428 youth have been joined their duties in the valley,” said Bhalla.

Migrant Kashmiri pandits however are not impressed by the J&K government fresh moves to woo them back to the valley.

“Resettlement of the community in Kashmir is a political issue for which the establishment of a separate Homeland in the valley is the only viable and plausible solution. This core political issue of the community cannot be linked with the day to day livelihood issues which, in any case, the government is duty bound to take care of,” said Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, President, Panun Kashmir, an apex body of migrant Kashmiri pundits.

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