Home Secy in Valley on Mar 26, 27 for high-level PMDP, security review

KPs, border people, refugees’ issues to be discussed

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Mar 22: Ahead of the crucial summer in Kashmir, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and top officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs are visiting Srinagar, the summer capital of the State for two days on March 26 and 27 for high-level review of security situation, law and order, Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) and situation along the frontiers with Pakistan, which was tense for the past nearly one year now.
Official sources told the Excelsior that progress on the issues of Kashmiri Pandit migrants including their rehabilitation package, disbursement of compensation to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) refugees, problems of West Pakistani refugees and issues of border dwellers, who were facing the brunt of Pakistan shelling and firing were high on the agenda of high-level review meetings, which would be chaired by Gauba.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked entire State administration of Jammu and Kashmir to be prepared for listing their priorities including requirements from the Centre and review of progress on developmental works especially those under the PMDP during the two-day visit of the Home Secretary.
Sources said the summer season in Kashmir, which is about to set-in during the next few days, was being considered very crucial by the MHA as any surge in infiltration attempts would escalate militant activities in the hinterland, which had potential of badly affecting yet another year of tourist season, which was lost in 2016 in the incidents aftermath of Burhan Wani killing and 2017 due to violent incidents after Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll.
The Union Home Secretary was likely to review the steps required to keep infiltration under control and militancy under check in the hinterland besides controlling the street protests, which erupt during gun battles and on some trivial issues to keep situation normal in the Valley this summer.
“Rajiv Gauba will also take special review of annual Amarnath Ji pilgrimage, which would last two months this year from June 28, well in advance, keeping in view the unfortunate incident of last year in which the militants had succeeded in targeting a bus of the yatris killing some of them and injuring others,” sources said, adding the Union Home Ministry was not averse to deployment of additional para-military forces in the Kashmir Valley well in advance to ensure fool-proof security arrangements for the annual pilgrimage as well as peaceful summer.
The Centre, according to sources, wants the troops to keep infiltration by the militants at bare minimum on the Line of Control (LoC) as well as International Border (IB) as this would keep militancy under control in the hinterland after the killing of over 200 militants last year and many more during first two and half months of this year.
“The aggressive approach against the militants will, however, continue,” they said.
Sources said apart from infiltration, security and law and order situation, the Union Home Secretary will hold high-level review of PMDP, which had only yesterday been extended by the Union Government for five more years in health sector amid reports that it was likely to be extended in more sectors for next five years shortly to keep developmental works in both Central and State sector going.
“Further release of funds under the PMDP would depend upon the progress shown by the State administration on the ongoing projects,” sources said, adding the Union Home Ministry, which monitors the PMDP, wants the State Government as well as Central agencies to meet deadline of the projects to prevent further cost escalation.
Already, they said, the original cost of the PMDP, which was Rs 80,068 crores, has gone up to Rs one lakh crore during past a little over two years and cautioned that cost of the projects could further jump if the projects were not executed timely.
According to sources, the issues of Kashmiri Pandit migrants, border dwellers, PoK and West Pakistani refugees were also high on the agenda of visiting Home Secretary.
Only few days back, the MHA, which had approved Rs 415.71 crore for construction of 1431 community and 13092 individual bunkers on December 14, 2017, had decided to allot work to Central Government’s construction agency, the NBCC, for speedy execution of the project.
Sources said the projects undertaken for rehabilitation and welfare of Kashmiri Pandit migrants, disbursement of speedy relief to PoJK refugees and welfare measures to be taken for West Pakistani refugees will also be reviewed by the Home Secretary with the State Government.