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70,000 Kashmiri Pandit families to be eligible for Rs 20 lakh under PM’s package

6,000 families who had sold their property in the Valley after 1997 were not eligible for this incentive.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Updated: February 6, 2014 4:11:09 pm

Nearly 70,000 Kashmiri Pandit families,who migrated from their native places in the wake of militancy since 1989,will now be eligible for Rs 20 lakh each under Prime Minister package for construction or re-construction of their houses in the Valley,irrespective of as to when they have sold their property there.

This followed state cabinet nod to the proposed amendments in the PM package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley. The cabinet met here today under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

“The proposed amendments will allow all migrant families who return to Valley avail incentive for construction/reconstruction of houses available under the package irrespective of the fact as to whether they have sold their properties before or after an official spokesman here said.

The package initially had a provision of Rs seven lakh for construction or reconstruction of house to every Kashmiri migrant family who returned to Valley. Recently,this amount was raised to Rs 20 lakh,sources said.

The cabinet also authorized all the Deputy Commissioners in Kashmir Valley to identify government land for setting up of clusters for such families who would construct houses either themselves or through group housing societies. In case of non-availability of government land,the Deputy Commissioners shall identify land for acquisition,it ordered,adding that the land to be acquired for the construction of individual houses or for group housing societies shall be identified at such places where there is no dislocation of the local population.

The revised cost estimates for the acquisition of land and the construction of houses for those migrants who have sold their properties after 1997 shall be worked out and included in the revised package for being sent to the Government of India,the official spokesman said. The state government will approach the Union Government of India for incorporating the land acquisition component in the package and release of funds thereof,he added.

At present,only those migrant families were entitled for this money who still had a property in the Valley,or who had sold it before 1997 when J&K Migrant Immoveable Property (Preservation,Protection and Restraint on Distress Sales) Act came into existence. Nearly 6,000 families who had sold their property in the Valley after 1997 were not eligible for this incentive.

However,no Kashmiri migrant family has so far come forward expressing its willingness to return to the Valley and avail the incentive available under the PM’s package to them,said Vinod Pandit of All Parties Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC). He said that the relief amount was too meager to lure Kashmiri Pandits return and re-settle in Valley permanently.

Ashwani Charangoo of Panun Kashmir said that the migrant community was not prepared to return to the Valley until the fulfillment of its geo-political aspirations which included carving out of an area with Union Territory status for Pandits within the Valley. He also asked the Centre not to accept state government’s revised proposal as in the absence of any takers from migrant community,its functionaries will be only be diverting these funds to fill their own coffers.

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