The Bold Voice of J&K

One time settlement of Rs 25 lakh not fair for refugees

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 daya sagarBy Daya Sagar
How could J&K Government propose to Centre that the claims for properties left behind, the loss of ‘dear ones’ and physical assets and the socio-economic opportunities lost over the last seven decades by the families who were displaced from the areas of J&K as were occupied by Pakistan in 1947/48 just by one-time payment of Rs 25 lakh only at a uniform rate when so far neither J&K Government nor the Centre has made any particular exercise for even ascertaining the real numbers of such families?
As per letter No. RAHAB-9/II/79 dated 27.11.79 of Secretary to Government of J&K, Rehabilitation (1974) Department, Jammu (in response to views sought vide communication No. RS5 (18)/78-Com. II dated 27 July, 1979 by the Committee on Petitions headed by Bipan Das, MP, after a petition had been made in Rajya Sabha by J&K Sharnarthi Action Committee in 1978) the only registration, which may be taken as correct should be that made on the basis of declaration forms filed in response to notice inviting applications for ex-gratia grant which scheme was sanctioned by the GOI in 1960. The number often quoted of such families is 31,619. It needs to be taken notice here that the referred applications mentioned in this reference were not invited from all displaced persons but were invited by excluding some categories of displaced persons for POJK. The amount of Rs. 9,096 crore mentioned here appears to be calculated only the basis of this number. That has not been fair.
Had the state government proposed that since the process of registering the families displaced and properties/assets left behind has yet to be started in a regular fashion, the families so far on record be paid on account Rs.25 lakh as ad hoc payment till final assessments, it would have some logic (although, at today’s standards, even the on account payments should be around Rs.50 lakh per family).
In case the reports as have been emerging from unofficial sources are true that GOI has returned in November this year the proposals as were approved by J&K Cabinet and were sent to Centre in Oct 2014 worth Rs.9,096 crore for paying Rs. 25 lakh per family to displaced persons from Pakistan Occupied Areas / handed over to Pakistan areas of J&K as of 1947, 1965 and 1971 and has advised the State Government for also include demands of refugees (who do not fall in the category of Permanent Residents of J&K / ‘State Subject’ ) from West Pakistan who are staying in the state since 1947 have some substance , then it would have been more fair on the part of BJP led-Union Government to have approved the J&K Government proposals as on account payment (and not as final payment ) to the known registered PoK DP families and asked the State Government to (i) issue notification inviting applications from people displaced from Pakistan Occupied areas 1947 for registration of the families and their properties so that families whose details are not with Government are also included (ii) appoint a high-level Nodal Officer for POJK DPs for their registration, evaluation of claims ( through a professional committee appointed to be appointed for the purpose) and paying the difference after deducting the on account payment (Rs.25 lakh) , issues like grant of Permanent Resident Certificates to leftovers (may it could be Divisional Commissioner Jammu ), working out support through reservations in professional institutions / state services , and like (iii) take the steps like issuing administrative orders like admissions in professional colleges / state services and initiating process for grant of PRC to West Pakistan Refugees settled in J&K since 1947. But it has not been done. Which could be a question for GOI to answer. Anyhow such actions have given opportunity to the politicians to shed crocodile tears for the ‘ victim families’.
(Daya Sagar is a Sr Journalist and a social activist and can be reached at [email protected]).

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