Tribune News Service
Jammu, February 4
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of a transit accommodation for displaced Pandits at Ganderbal and Bandipora in Kashmir, community members say promises should translate into action on ground as the project has already faced a delay of 11 years.
PM Modi also announced to fast-track recruitment process to fill 3,000 posts to allow Pandit youth to start life in their homeland, implementation of which was stopped due to controversial SRO 425 issued by the previous PDP-BJP government.
Both of these projects were part of the Rs 1,610-crore return and rehabilitation package announced by then Congress-led UPA government in 2008 in Jammu when Dr Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, but the entire process was marred by red tape by the NC-Congress and BJP-PDP alliance governments, threats from militant groups and opposition from separatists.
“We appreciate the concern of the Prime Minister, but it’s too late. After being in power for 4.5 years, the Centre is talking about addressing our issues now. There is a need for a comprehensive rehabilitation package as there is nothing new about what Modi announced,” said TK Bhat, general secretary, All State Kashmiri Pandit Conference (ASKPC).
During a rally at Vijaypur on Sunday, the Prime Minister had said, “India will not forget the circumstances under which the Pandits had to leave their homes.”
“There is no change in the Centre’s policy towards the Pandits. It continues to treat our plight as an economic issue, while neglecting our core issues,” said Ajay Chrungoo, chairman, Panun Kashmir.
Representative organisations of the community said those who returned to the Valley in 2010 were living in slum-like conditions as no notable progress was made in the construction of flats under the PM package since 2014. “At places where construction was started by J&K Projects Construction Corporation on the land acquired before 2014-15, the progress is going on at a snail’s pace. It is a fact admitted by the previous PDP-BJP government,” said Sunny Raina, president, Vessu Migrant Transit Camp Housing PM Package Employees’ Association.
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