Baramulla: The state government is planning to expand and develop the existing residential clusters for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley to accommodate more migrants who want to return home, deputy commissioner relief Gulzar Ahmad said.
He was asked by Kashmir Reader about the purpose of his visit to Pandit colonies in Baramulla recently. Ahmad was accompanied by revenue officials.
“We visited the area of take stock of situation in migrant colonies. We have no proposal to develop new colonies but we do plan expanding and developing the existing ones,” he said.
In April this year, Kashmir reacted angrily when chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed told Home minister Rajnath Singh that his government will acquire and provide land for ‘composite townships’ for displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. Singh had told Mufti to provide land for such townships.
The pro-resistance leaderships, business community and civil society protested against the announcement, saying such townships were akin to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.
The state government later clarified that people of all faiths can live in ‘composite townships’ and were not meant exclusively for Pandits.
Kashmir Reader learnt that the relief commissioner and revenue officials were surveying the state land that would be allotted for expansion of the existing colonies.
When asked whether the ongoing survey was meant for the ‘composite townships’, Ahmad said, “You should talk to higher authorities in this regard. I am not authorised to give further details to anyone in this connection.”
A revenue official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the government plans building schools and hospitals in the existing colonies. State land close to the colonies is being identified for their expansion, he added.