PM pledges major relief for Kashmir migrants, refugees

April 25th, 2008 - 10:19 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Akhnoor (Jammu and Kashmir), April 25 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday announced major relief and rehabilitation measures for Kashmiri Pandit migrants, refugees and victims of terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Addressing a rally here, the prime minister said the government was concerned about the condition of widows and orphans - the victims of militancy related violence - and the state government would work out a package for their rehabilitation.

Most of the relief he announced was for Kashmiri Pandit migrants. He said that 6,000 migrant youth would get jobs and the central government would pay the salaries of 3,000 of them. The government would also consider a package for other unemployed youth of the community, he said.

On the 55,000 migrant Hindu families, who fled their homes in the face of growing militancy, the prime minister said to help those who had made distress sale of their properties the state government would identify land where group housing societies would be constructed for them.

He said the government would give migrant families who opt to return to the Valley a grant of Rs.750,000 to build or buy homes.

“We have also decided to give a similar grant to migrant families whose houses have been fully or partially damaged. We will assist with transit accommodation and start-up expenses,” he said.

He also said the monthly relief being given to 15,000 displaced families in Jammu and Delhi would be continued for those who opt to return to the Valley for a period of two years to enable a smooth transition.

The government is also examining the possibility of providing assistance to children of migrant families through the National Foundation for Communal Harmony and the J&K Rehabilitation Council.

“The migrant families engaged in agriculture and horticulture would require assistance to renew their occupation in the field. We will provide grants to those having agricultural holdings and for restoration of orchards which have been lying abandoned,” he said.

As part of a one-time settlement package, the government is considering the feasibility of waiving the interest on unpaid loans taken by Kashmiri migrants before their migration.

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