Rs 7000 crore package for refugees being placed before Cabinet shortly

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Nov 20: As the Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department has almost finalized the draft, Rs 7000 crore package for one time settlement of all sorts of refugees will be placed before the State Cabinet shortly for approval and onward submission to the Union Government for funding.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that all the issues of refugees have been addressed in the package on which the Revenue Minister had already held detailed discussion with all the stakeholders. “Almost all the demands of the refugees like reservation in professional colleges, compensation against land deficiency as per market value, conferring of ownership rights/tenancy rights on land allotted to Chhamb refugees, disposal of pending applications for compensation etc have been incorporated in the package”, sources added.
“Within next few days, the Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department will submit the draft of the package along with the memorandum for the Cabinet to the General Administration Department”, sources said, adding “it is hoped that matter would be listed before the Cabinet within next fortnight”.
According to the sources privy to the package, the Revenue Department has proposed payment of Rs 25 lakh per family as one time settlement in favour of 5764 families of West Pakistan Refugees Similarly, it has proposed Rs 20 lakh for each family of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Chhamb refugees of 1965 and 1971, who have been settled in urban areas.
As far as PoK and Chhamb refugees settled in rural areas are concerned, the Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department has proposed Rs 15 lakh compensation as one time settlement. “The department has also suggested to make necessary amendments in the J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, 1971 which will facilitate the Government to confer ownership and tenancy rights to the Chhamb refugees, who have been allotted land on the same pattern as has been conferred to PoK 1947 refugees. However, this dispensation will be applicable to only those families who are permanent residents of J&K State”, sources added.
It has also been suggested that necessary recommendations be made to the Government of India for providing of reservation in professional colleges outside J&K State for the children of refugees of PoK, 1947, Chhamb and West Pakistan, sources said. It has again been recommended that Government of India should be approached for providing reservation of jobs in paramilitary forces and army for the children of such refugee families, sources added.
“The Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department is of the opinion that a recommendation be sent to the Government of India for providing special employment package in favour of children of West Pakistan refugees who otherwise don’t qualify for jobs in Jammu and Kashmir”, sources informed.
It is pertinent to mention here that Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has already been apprised of the problems of refugees and he too favoured framing of a comprehensive package and submission of the State to the Union Government for the one time settlement of refugees.
When contacted, Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, Aijaz Khan confirmed that draft package has almost been finalized and will be submitted to the General Administration Department very shortly for placement before the Cabinet. “I am hopeful of approval of the Cabinet”, he remarked in response to a question.

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