Land for 3 colonies identified for Kashmiri Pandits

At least three sites have been identified by the Jammu and Kashmir government for setting up colonies for displaced Kashmiri Pandits and it has been conveyed to the Union Home Ministry for assessment.

Official sources said most of the land is held by private owners and the state government has approached them for outright sale of the land where it plans to construct dwelling units to rehabilitate them.

One of the identified lands is in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. It is spread over more than 200 kanals at Kanispora Johema on the outskirts of Baramulla and is close to the national highway and railway station.

Two other pieces of land have also been scouted for in central and south Kashmir but are yet to be finalised.

Home ministry officials have advised the Jammu and Kashmir government to finalise the land at the earliest to begin construction work for the colonies.

In September 2014, home minister Rajnath Singh had written a letter to the then chief minister Omar Abdullah for allocation of “suitable” land for creating dwelling units for displaced Kashmiri Pandit families under the government’s rehabilitation scheme for migrants.

Singh had suggested that the land may be identified near places from where they migrated and also advised that this should be done in such a manner that there was adequate security in and around the area.

There are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri Pandit families in the country, who migrated from the Valley due to the onset of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in the early 1990s.

About 40,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families are living in Jammu, around 20,000 in Delhi-NCR and about 2,000 families are settled in other parts of the country.

On November 18, 2015, the central government had approved a rehabilitation package with an estimated expenditure of Rs 2,000 crore for providing additional 3,000 state government jobs to Kashmiri migrants and construction of 6,000 transit accommodations in the Valley for migrants to whom state government jobs have been provided or will be provided.

The state government has been requested to take necessary action for the implementation of the package at the earliest.