JK asked to speed up land identification of Pandit townships, says minister

Srinagar: The government of India has asked the PDP-BJP government to identify land for setting up composite townships for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
In an official bulletin of the government of India’s Press Information Bureau, the minister of state for Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told Lok Sabha that the state government has been requested to identify “suitable land” in Kashmir for rehabilitation of the Pandits.
He said further action would be taken only when the land is identified.
Last year, when former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had assured the government of India that land would be acquired for the composite townships, triggering a sharp reaction from resistance groups and civil society who likened the townships to Israeli-settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.
Fearing an uprising, the government hurriedly clarified that by ‘composite’ it meant that a sizable portion of apartments in these townships would be reserved for other communities.
The minister said about 62,000 Kashmiri migrant families, who migrated from the Valley in the 1990s, were registered— 40,000 in Jammu, 20,000 in Delhi/NCR and about 2000 in other parts of India.
In November 2015, the Indian government had approved a rehabilitation package of Rs 2000 crore for providing additional 3000 state government jobs for Pandit youths and construction of 6000 transit accommodations in the Valley for the Kashmiri migrants, the minister said.
The minister said the state government has been requested to take necessary action for the implementation of the package at the earliest.