Plight of PM Package Employees

Vivek Koul

The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Employment Package, formulated in the year 2009, for internally displaced Kashmiri Pandits which is more oftenly known as “Return and Rehabilitation package” has proved out to be a total failure & disastrous as nothing concrete has been done by the government with regard to the betterment of the community youths selected under this much talked about package. Only fake promises and false assurances have been given to them by different governments in connection with their dignified return and rehabilitation to Kashmir. The successive governments and regimes always spoke in volumes about their dignified return and resettlement but the harsh fact is totally different. As per the available records not even a single KP family has rehabilitated back to Kashmir since the inception of this job package. However, the reality is that this so called Rehabilitation Package has now become a Package of separation/alienation from families for these unfortunate Package employees. All this boils down to the fact that the government has been insensitive and insincere towards this hapless community. The government has always exploited the needs and urge of these PM package employees and made them to work in Kashmir as bonded labourers with dire conditionality. One wonders as to why the government puts harsh conditionality for KP package employees of signing the bond to serve in Kashmir valley alone for whole of their life time. Such bond or judicial agreement with regard to the PM’s Employment Package seems to be irrational and unreasonable on all counts. It is totally beyond one’s comprehension as to why these PM package Pandit employees have been subjected to this kind of humiliation in terms of signing the bond before getting job. In India nowhere an employee is asked to sign a bond before getting a job. This is total discriminatory, unlawful and unconstitutional bond. Thus this arbitrary bond should be abrogated in future if the government is really interested in safeguarding the precious lives of Kashmiri Pandits. A comprehensive transfer policy must be framed for these KP Package employees as they haven’t signed any death warrant under this employment scheme. The erstwhile state of J&K is now a Union Territory so all the state laws are replaced by the central laws and in this perspective a new dimension and look should be given with regard to the terms/conditions of their job under this much talked about PM’s package. It is not understandable that if an employee of Delhi or some other UT can be transferred anywhere in India then why PM Package employee of JK UT is restricted to serve only in Kashmir valley? This is a moot question.
The PM Package for displaced Kashmiri Pandits is basically an economic package and therefore it should not be linked with any rehabilitation program/plan or something like that. The government claims it a Rehabilitation package and if it is so then where is the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits? Rehabilitation doesn’t mean forcefully coercing PM Package Pandit employees to work back in Kashmir against their will discretion and making them sacrificial goats at the alter of secular democracy. Forced rehabilitation of KPs will not serve any purpose.
Thus it needs to be clarified that the re-establishmemt of the whole KP community back in valley need not be confused with this PM employment scheme. However, out of 6000 PM Package employees, only around 2500 employees got accommodation and the remaining 3500 employees are living at scattered rented accommodation across Kashmir without any security. Initially this Employment Package which was announced in the year 2009 comes with no conditionality but very cleverly the then state government of J&K ammended the advertisement with condition of serving a judicial agreement by the employee. All these things happened under a well knit policy so as to exploit the urge and needs of these Package employees. It is very sorry state of affairs that the present government is also treating these KP package employees as a separate category employees.
The fact of the matter is that these employees are also the part and parcel of state establishment and thus should be treated as such. It seems like that the government is least bothered about mitigating the sufferings of the PM Package employees in particular and Kashmiri pandits in general. Due to this suppression and mistreatment by the administration, they have lost total confidence now and most of the employees are getting frustrated and depressed day by day due to this lackadaisical approach and rigid stance adopted by the government.
It is worrisome that the package employees are entangled between life and livelihood. The LG administration must immediately provide Work From Home (WFH) option to all those PM Package employees who are living at rented places till proper secured accommodation be given to them. By giving an option of Work From Home will provide succour to these employees and in this way the office work may not hamper. But in Kashmir the administration is treating these package employees as if they are “Prisoners of war” and this package now proves out to be a “Punishment Package” for these unfortunate sons of mother India. They are in total confusion, chaos and dilemma & many employees under this scheme have already submitted their voluntarily resignations out of frustration and depression. Still the government is unmoved, unnerved and remains in dormant state as far as the issues of PM package employees are concerned. Their issues always remain un-attended, un-addressed and un-resolved for the best reasons known to the authorities concerned. Is anybody listening is the million dollar question?

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