Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government has submitted a revised proposal to government of India for increasing financial assistance to migrant Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) to woo them to return to Kashmir Valley.
The proposal was sent after the state cabinet gave approval to it last year in order to make the financial package, earlier announced by New Delhi for the KPs, more attractive. The previous package which was launched in 2009 prompted only one family to settle in the Valley even though nearly 5,000 families had submitted applications for their return.
Under the revised proposal, the state government has urged New Delhi to enhance the financial assistance to each KP family from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh (for construction of house) and Rs 4 lakh from Rs 2 lakh (for renovation of unused house).
For revival of agricultural land, the proposal seeks enhancement from Rs 5000 per kanal subject to the ceiling of Rs 1.5 lakh per family to Rs 10,000 per kanal with the ceiling of Rs 3 lakh per family, while for the revival of orchards the proposal demands enhancement of cost from Rs 5000 per kanal with the ceiling of Rs 1.5 lakh per family to Rs 15000 per kanal with the maximum ceiling of Rs 5 lakh per family.
The revised proposal also demands enhancement of package for transit accommodation from Rs 60 crore to Rs 180 crore and increase of government jobs from 3000 to 6000.
Under the self-employment component of the scheme, the new proposal also seeks financial package of Rs 10 lakh with 50 per cent grant for revival of industrial units.
The new proposal also seeks approval for treating the KPs equally—irrespective of the fact whether they have sold their houses in the Valley or not before 1997.
According to official records, since the onset of militancy in the Valley in 1989-90, 40,857 families including 36,839 KPs, 2233 Muslims, 1780 Sikhs and five belonging to other religions migrated from the Valley to Jammu and other parts.
Of the migrants, 19,681 families are registered under relief category and the rest under non-relief category.
In June 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sanctioned an economic package of Rs 1618.40 crore for return and rehabilitation of these migrants which was approved by the state government for implementation on January 26, 2009.
In order to implement the package, applications were invited from the migrants desirous of returning to the Valley; 4898 families submitted their applications. However, the scheme proved to be a failure as only one family has returned to the Valley so far, that too taking partial financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh against the provision of Rs 7.5 lakh under housing component of the scheme despite having budget allocation of Rs 1100 lakh for the years 2009 to 2012.
According to Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report of 2014, the scheme has not achieved its intended outcome even though Rs 120.41 crore has been spent up to March 2013.
The report also said the expenditure of Rs 40.85 lakh incurred on the construction of two room sets in various parts of the Valley has shown ineffective utilization as out of total 463 sets, 363 sets have been allotted to migrant employees though their families have not returned to the Valley.