Only 17%, or about 1,025 houses, of the proposed accommodation for Kashmiri Pandits has been completed in the last seven years till February 2022, The Hindu reported on Saturday, citing data from the Union Home Ministry.

An estimated 83,000 Kashmiri Pandit families had left the Kashmir valley in the 1990s after prominent members of the community were targeted and killed by militants, showed the data on the Union Territory’s government website.

In 2015, the Centre had announced that 6,000 accommodation units will be constructed the Kashmiri Pandits for them to return to the Kashmir valley.

In December, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs had pointed out that construction of the accommodation units has been slow. Till then, 849 accommodation units had been constructed, while 176 were about to be completed.

Fresh home affairs ministry data shows that the construction of 50% of the houses is yet to begin, according to The Hindu.

On March 9, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had written to Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi informing her that the construction of all the accommodation units was expected to be completed by 2023.

“The work on 1,488 units is at different stages of completion,” Rai said. “The tenders have been finalised in respect of 2,744 units and tendering processes in respect of remaining units have also been initiated.”

He said that the the Union Territory administration had began acquiring government land in 2019 to speed up the construction work as increase in costs in acquisition of private lands was causing delay.

“All land for construction of transit accommodations now stands available with the government of J&K,” Rai added.

Besides accommodation, the Centre had approved creating 3,000 government jobs in 2015 for Kashmiri migrants in Jammu and Kashmir. Till now, only 1,739 migrants have been appointed and 1,098 others selected for the jobs.

A similar employment package for migrants was announced by the Congress government in 2008. Under this, 2,905 jobs have been filled out of the 3,000 approved.

Several Kashmiri migrants currently live at transit accommodation areas at Vessu in Kulgam district, Mattan in Anantnag, Hawl in Pulwama, Natnusa in Kupwara, Sheikhpora in Budgam and Veerwan in Baramulla in the Kashmir Valley other than the camps in Jammu and New Delhi.

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