Economic Package Cruel Joke With Displaced Persons: PoJK Refugees

14 November 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: Like other displaced persons, refugees from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) are also on the warpath against the much-hyped economic package announced by the Union Government for addressing their decades-old issues. Terming the package as a 'cruel joke' with the displaced persons, refugee leaders said the Union Government has undermined sanctity of the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC), which had recommended Rs 30 lakh for each refugee family of 1947 in its final report. The PSC in October, 2014, had suggested that Rs 30 lakh should be given to each refugee family of 1947 as compensation. While distributing economic package, the state government announced on November 13 that Rs 2,000 crore had been sanctioned as 'one-time monetary compensation to the refugee families of PoJK and Chamb'. 'It is a cruel joke with refugees who have been struggling since 1947,' reacted Rajiv Chuni, one of the prominent leaders of PoJK refugees. The PSC had recommended Rs 30 lakh to each family which had migrated from PoJK in 1947, but the Union Government had virtually rejected those recommendations, Chuni observed, adding that a meeting of refugee leader would be held on Sunday to devise strategy for future course of action. Refugee leaders have reasons to reject the Centre's package because the previous National Conference-Congress government had recommended a package of Rs 9,096 crore for them, but the same was rejected by the Centre with a plea that the package was neither comprehensive nor inclusive. On October 16, 2014, the previous NC-Congress regime had approved a package of Rs 9,096 crore and forwarded the same to the Centre for the rehabilitation and compensation to the refugees of PoJK, 1947, 1965 and 1971. The Rs 9,096-crore package had proposed one-time settlement for 36,384 PoJK-Chhamb families at the rate of Rs 25 lakh per family. However, the Union Government vide communication dated November 7, 2014, returned the proposal with the advice to the state government to send a comprehensive and consolidated proposal. 'The previous state government had proposed Rs 25 lakh per family, but the present BJP-led NDA government has sanctioned over Rs 5 lakh per family,' Chuni observed, while pointing towards a package of Rs 2,000 crore for PoJK and Chamb refugees. 'This is nothing, but sheer betrayal with refugees,' he said. As reported earlier, West Pakistani refugees, who have been once again ignored by the Centre in the package, have already announced to launch a nationwide campaign for their cause.