GoI formulating policy to rehabilitate Pandits: Governor Malik

GoI formulating policy to rehabilitate Pandits: Governor Malik
Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Arvind Ganpat Sawant, and Governor Satya Pal Malik board e-bus in Srinagar.

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 emergesoon," Malik said.  

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

The statement came on a day when a delegation of KashmiriPandits met Minister of State for Home Affairs, GK Reddy and BJP's in-chargeKashmir Affairs Avinash Rai Khanna, in New Delhi.

The delegation, which is part of 419 Kashmiri Panditfamilies 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 expressedconcern over increasing environmental degradation in Kashmir, particularlygrowing pollution of Dal Lake.

Malik said hoteliers and houseboat owners were dumpingsewage into the Lake. "Their licenses will be cancelled if they don't installSewage Treatment Plants (STPs). We are making all efforts to provide them withbio-digesters," Malik said.

The Governor said the eco-friendly buses will help inprotection of environment in the summer capital. "We are hoping to get manysuch e-buses in the second phase of the electric vehicle scheme, with help ofcentral assistance. This kind of transport will help to protect environment inKashmir," Malik said.

He said instead of metro rail project, "compact" transportshould be encouraged in the summer capital.

"The metro system has been a failure in Jaipur. We shouldhave transport system which is as per the need here," Malik said.

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

"Such places must be kept open for only those people whohave genuine interest in ecology and wildlife. I would urge such people todefinitely visit this forest reserve," Malik said.

He said town-planners in Srinagar were not taking intoconsideration the "ethos of the downtown Srinagar" while formulating urbandevelopment policies.

"They must take into consideration sustainable growth of thedowntown as well. The policies have to be formed while considering restorationof hundreds of years old heritage," Malik said.

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

Malik said there was a great need for self-sufficiency indifferent sectors such as poultry, livestock and food grains. "This is possibleif we put a lot of efforts into research. Attaining self-sufficiency can helpus bring down the import bill to a great extent," Malik said. "The irony isthat instead of working to boost milk production many people in our countryfocus on benefits of cow dung. Our seriousness with regard to livestock andfarming must increase manifold," Malik said.

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