Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is believed to have put on hold the file sent by the state’s chief secretary B.R. Sharma regarding land identification for rehabilitating the Kashmiri Pandits.
Informed sources told this newspaper that during the Central rule under Governor N.N. Vohra, plots had been identified in Budgam and Ganderbal for building KP clusters. The file was recently submitted to the CM, who is understood to have told the chief secretary to explore more plots in other districts before she takes a call on this issue. Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party is not keen to prioritise the land identification process although the Central government led by ally Bharatiya Janata Party is waiting for a decision on the same as it has already announced the rehabilitation package for KPs.
CM Mufti is facing opposition from Kashmiri separatists and civil society for building separate KP townships. The latter maintain that the KPs should come back and live in their villages and towns from where they had fled on the onset of militancy in 1990.
The state government is likely to put the issue on hold even though land has been identified and the process has been completed in January. The process will be restarted after the Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir will write to different district commissioners to look for chunks of land for rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits. “The process will take a few months and after that the file would be resubmitted to the government,” a senior official said. Meanwhile, the Central government has said in Parliament that CM Mufti has been asked to initiate steps for utilisation of the KP package.