By Gopal Sachar
Despite the Rs 2,800 crore action plan for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, little headway has been made in its implementation.
The action plan was formulated over five years ago and till then over Rs 250 crore had been spent with hardly any achievement on the ground except for the construction of a number of living quarters at different places in and around Srinagar district. There are in all about 56,380 registered migrant families, the majority of whom are Kashmiri Pandits with a sizable number of Sikhs/other Hindus as also about 4,000 Muslim families.
The largest number of migrant families have been accommodated in Jammu region, followed by 19,338 families in Delhi and about 2,400 in Chandigarh and other parts of the country. According to the Action Plan, the rehabilitation grant included Rs 1.5 lakh in addition to this Rs 1 lakh to be spent over houses left intact so far and Rs 3 lakh each over damaged houses, grant for household goods, Rs 50,000 for furniture as also interest-free loans ranging between Rs one and two lakh per person; compensation for loss of income from agriculture up to Rs 1.5 lakh per family; interest-free loan of Rs 1.5 lakh per family for investment in agricultural operations and a sustenance allowance of Rs 2,000 per month.
Many are surprised as to why the action plan has not made any headway. There are reports that while the migrants are concerned about their security on return to the troubled Valley of Kashmir, there is also a feeling that many of the ruling leaders are having reservations on the return of these migrants because of their communally diseased minds. They point out that it was about four years ago that the government of the state had secured applications from the unemployed Kashmiri migrant youth. About 15,000 unemployed educated youth had submitted their applications for government jobs, but so far not a single migrant has got any job in the Valley, although over the past five years about a lakh of new recruitments have been made.