GoI formulating policy to rehabilitate Pandits: Governor Malik

Government of India is in the process of formulating a policy for rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Friday.

“A policy is being formulated …more details will emerge soon,” Malik said.  

He was speaking to media on sidelines of a function here on the launch of 20 electric buses in the summer capital Srinagar. 

The statement came on a day when a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits met Minister of State for Home Affairs, GK Reddy and BJP’s in-charge Kashmir Affairs Avinash Rai Khanna, in New Delhi.

The delegation, which is part of 419 Kashmiri Pandit families ready to return to the Valley, had also met Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Srinagar recently.

Earlier, while addressing the function Malik expressed concern over increasing environmental degradation in Kashmir, particularly growing pollution of Dal Lake.

Malik said hoteliers and houseboat owners were dumping sewage into the Lake. “Their licenses will be cancelled if they don’t install Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). We are making all efforts to provide them with bio-digesters,” Malik said.

The Governor said the eco-friendly buses will help in protection of environment in the summer capital. “We are hoping to get many such e-buses in the second phase of the electric vehicle scheme, with help of central assistance. This kind of transport will help to protect environment in Kashmir,” Malik said.

He said instead of metro rail project, “compact” transport should be encouraged in the summer capital.

“The metro system has been a failure in Jaipur. We should have transport system which is as per the need here,” Malik said.

The Governor said the proposal to open up Dachigam forest reserve for common people was opposed by him.

“Such places must be kept open for only those people who have genuine interest in ecology and wildlife. I would urge such people to definitely visit this forest reserve,” Malik said.

He said town-planners in Srinagar were not taking into consideration the “ethos of the downtown Srinagar” while formulating urban development policies.

“They must take into consideration sustainable growth of the downtown as well. The policies have to be formed while considering restoration of hundreds of years old heritage,” Malik said.

On the occasion, the Governor launched the state livestock breeding policy, which was approved recently.

Malik said there was a great need for self-sufficiency in different sectors such as poultry, livestock and food grains. “This is possible if we put a lot of efforts into research. Attaining self-sufficiency can help us bring down the import bill to a great extent,” Malik said. “The irony is that instead of working to boost milk production many people in our country focus on benefits of cow dung. Our seriousness with regard to livestock and farming must increase manifold,” Malik said.