Govt likely to regularize all colonies of PoJK refugees in Jammu’s outskirts

Admn to set process in motion shortly
*Centre’s nod after BJP leaders pursue demand
Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Oct 9: The Jammu and Kashmir Government is likely to regularize erstwhile 52 camps which were gradually converted into 12-odd colonies in Jammu outskirts in which Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) refugees had settled after their migration in 1947. The Government decision, when implemented, will lead to development of the colonies and will vest all kind of rights on the inhabitants.
Only few days back, the Government had set the exercise in motion to grant land rights to West Pakistani refugees which were denied to them for last 75 years since they settled here after migration from Pakistan.
Sources told the Excelsior that majority of PoJK refugees were given 7 Marla plots with land rights in different parts of Jammu on their migration but a number of them stayed in tents at Bhour Camp, Chatha, Miran Sahib, Gadigarh, Ranibagh, Badyal Brahamana, RS Pura, Indira Nagar, Brij Nagar etc.
“At that time, tented colonies were set up at 52 places for the PoJK refugees which gradually were converted into dozen-odd colonies with people themselves constructing one or two rooms for them. However, these colonies were never regularized, as a result of which the people couldn’t get any kind of rights there,” the sources said.
BJP UT president Ravinder Raina and party’s national secretary Narinder Singh took up the issue with the Central Government giving detailed briefing on the plight of PoJK refugees whose colonies have not been regularized so far.
Raina confirmed that the Central Government has agreed to the demand and assured them that the Jammu and Kashmir Government will shortly set the process in motion for regularization of the colonies inhabited by the PoJK refugees.
Narinder Singh said the Government decision will confer different kind of rights upon the PoJK refugees once their colonies are regularized as promised by the Centre.
Official sources confirmed that process for regularization of PoJK inhabitants’ colonies has been set in motion and details will be available shortly.
The Central Government has already distributed Rs 5.5 lakh compensation per family among PoJK and West Pakistani refugees.
“The Government decision to regularize colonies of PoJK refugees which will give them advantage to many facilities will be another morale booster for the displaced persons of 1947,” the sources said.
They wondered that the Governments which ruled at the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir for 70 years paid no focus towards PoJK and West Pakistani refugees as issues like regularization of colonies remained pending for more than seven decades.
As far as the West Pakistani refugees are concerned, they were given 46,666 kanals of land on May 7, 1954 in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts but were not conferred with ownership rights as they were not treated as the State Subjects.
The land was mostly allotted in Pargwal island in Akhnoor, RS Pura and Bishnah tehsils in Jammu, parts of Samba and Hiranagar in Kathua district besides some other places.
As already reported by the Excelsior the Revenue Department is working out modalities on allotment of ownership rights to West Pakistani refugees. Number of refugees and their families, total land under their occupation, status of land and other formalities are being collected and a decision on conferring ownership rights to the refugees is expected to be taken soon.
The Government decision will end another major act of discrimination with refugees by the previous Governments which continued for more than 70 years till abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the sources said.
As per the sources, the Government will take a decision as soon as all requisite formalities are completed by the Revenue Department.
Due to denial of rights to the West Pakistani refugees including State Subject rights, they couldn’t get the Government jobs and other facilities to which residents of Jammu and Kashmir were entitled. This discrimination was undone after the Central Government on August 5, 2019 scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated erstwhile State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.