Jammu Refugees: A Cabinet Memo

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Under intense pressure from Congress, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah presided over a cabinet meeting on October 16, 2014 that approved a detailed memo on the issue of various refuges living in Jammu. It was on basis of this memo that Omar government sought Rs 9096 crore from central government. It was on basis of this request that an entire set of communications are coming from union government as follow up. Given the larger public interest involved, Kashmir Life reproduces part of the cabinet memo that gives the basic details of various types of refugees including the West Pakistan Refugees which are in sharp focus, right now.

  1. PoK DPs of 1947

26319 families from Pak occupied Kashmir settled in various Districts of Jammu province. For sustenance they were provided some facilities during mid 1950s by the Government. Out of the families who opted to settle within the State, 22719 families settled in Rural areas and remaining 3600 in urban areas. The families who settled in rural were provided land ranging from 4 acres to 12 acres per family and cash compensation of approximately Rs 1000 was paid to each family.

As far as the families who settled in urban areas are concerned were provided plots / quarters and cash compensation of Rs 3500 per of approximately. Also some deductions were made by GOI out of the amount on account of cost of structure. This process was completed in  1950s. Around 10 lac kanals of land was allotted to these families which around 7 lac kanals was EP land and the remaining as State land.

With the passage of time some of the families who settled in areas had approached that they have not been provided land as per prescribed scale and accordingly GoI sanctioned a package compensating such families who were provided deficient land. Initial package was for providing of Rs5000 per kanal against the land deficiency subject to a ceiling of Rs 25000 per family however as per the revised package the amount was enhanced to Rs 30000 per kanal subject to a ceiling of Rs 1.5 lac per family. The GOI provided funds to the Rs 55.17 cr on this account out of which approximately Rs.31.00 cr been disbursed in favour of 2524 families. The number of families were found eligible for receiving this compensation is 2841 and the process for disbursing of compensation in respect of remaining families is going on.

Also It was reported that some of the families who settled in urban areas were not provided plots. 48 families had furnished documents for allotment of plots and during verification most of the families were not found eligible however the process of verification is going on and an amount of Rs 4.00 cr has been earmarked out of the funds allotted by GoI for meeting the demand of such families who were not provided plots.

The organizations of these refugees have been raising certain demands for permanent settlement and in this regard they had placed their demands before the Wadhwa Committee and Parliamentary Standing Committee. The Hon’ble Minister for Revenue had detailed interaction with various representatives of organizations in order to settle the issue and it was observed that main demands which needs attention of the Government are as under:-

  1. One time settlement by payment cash compensation to each family.
  1. Payment of compensation on account of land deficiency as per market rate.
  1. Providing of reservation in professional colleges for the children of these  families outside state.
  1. Providing of reservation in employment by the GOI in Forces and Central Government offices.
  1. Considering the   pending claims   on   account   land deficiency and enlisting of left out families.

The State land which was allotted in favour of these families stands transferred in their favour however in respect of EP land by virtue of a Government order the allottees have been conferred tenancy rights under which they can mortgage the land and transfer the same to any other person as per State laws.

  1. Chhamb Displaced Persons of 1965 / 1971

 During Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, around 10,065 families shifted to safer places from Chhamb area comprising 47 villages; Around 8100 families reported in various camps established by Government and remaining made their own arrangements outside the camps. The families who had reported in camps were settled subsequently in 156 basties established in Jammu , Samba and Kathua Districts where residential plots were allotted to them. The camp DP families were also allotted land @ 4 acres irrigated or 6 acres un-irrigated in these districts. More than 2 lac kanals of land was allotted in their favour. The process of rehabilitation of Chhamb refugees was implemented / monitored by the Chhamb Displaced Persons Rehabilitation Authority (CDPRA), constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI.

In addition to the allotment of land the families who got dislocated to shift due to 1965 war were paid cash compensation of Rs 3000 approximately and in respect of the families displaced during 1971 Rs7500 approximately were paid.

The Chhamb refugees had also complained against land deficiency as some of the families were not allotted land as per the prescribed scale. The Government of India accordingly sanctioned a package for compensating such families who were not provided land as per scale. 699 families were identified who were provided deficient land and as per the package Rs 5000 per kanal against the irrigated land and Rs 3300 against unirrigated land subject to a ceiling of Rs 25000 per family have been paid.

There were around 1965 families of Chhamb refugees who settled outside the camps established by the Government. They were not provided any facility and accordingly the Government of India agreed to pay Rs 25000/- per family as ex-gratia relief in favour of such families. During verification 1502 claims were found genuine. The payment has already been made in respect of 1230 families and 272 claims are in the process of settlement.

 The representatives of the Chhamb DPs have also been raising some demands and based on the inputs received and by the Hon’ble Revenue Minister during the interaction he had with representatives of organization following   are   the   main demands   of   these   refugees   which   need consideration:-

The representatives of the Chhamb DPs have also been raising some demands and based on the inputs received and by the Hon’ble Revenue Minister during the interaction he had with representatives of organization following   are   the   main demands   of   these   refugees   which   need consideration:-

  1. One time Settlement.
  1. Payment of compensation against land deficiency as per market rate.
  1. Considering the pending claims on account of land deficiency, allotment of plots and enlisting of left out families.
  1. Considering allotment of land in favour of 182 families whose one of the members were serving in the Army during 1971.
  1. Conferment of occupancy rights on E.P.Land.
  1. Providing of reservation in professional colleges and employment.

 As far as the issue No.4 above is concerned the authority responsible for rehabilitation of Chhamb refugees have not agreed to provide any facility for rehabilitation in respect of such families whose one of the members were serving in Army and the demand for providing facility to such families seems justified.

As far as the issue No.4 above is concerned the authority responsible for rehabilitation of Chhamb refugees have not agreed to provide any facility for rehabilitation in respect of such families whose one of the members were serving in Army and the demand for providing facility to such families seems justified.

 With regard to issue No. 5 it is submitted that the PoK refugee families who were allotted E.P. land were conferred tenancy rights by virtue of which they could mortgage or transfer the rights to any person however in respect of the Chhamb refugees who were allotted land in 1971 and afterwards such condition is not applicable and in order to confer same rights to them it needs amendment in Section 3-A of the Agrarian Reforms Act 1976.

With regard to issue No. 5 it is submitted that the PoK refugee families who were allotted E.P. land were conferred tenancy rights by virtue of which they could mortgage or transfer the rights to any person however in respect of the Chhamb refugees who were allotted land in 1971 and afterwards such condition is not applicable and in order to confer same rights to them it needs amendment in Section 3-A of the Agrarian Reforms Act 1976.

 The demand of Chhamb refugees on this account is genuine otherwise they have no right on the land except for the cultivation. As per the Act the crucial date for recording an occupant as occupancy tenant is that the allotee should have been in cultivable position as on Kharif 1971 whereas in respect of Chhamb refugees most of the allotment have been made by the authority after Kharif 1971 which debars them for being treated at par with the PoK DPs of 1947.

The demand of Chhamb refugees on this account is genuine otherwise they have no right on the land except for the cultivation. As per the Act the crucial date for recording an occupant as occupancy tenant is that the allotee should have been in cultivable position as on Kharif 1971 whereas in respect of Chhamb refugees most of the allotment have been made by the authority after Kharif 1971 which debars them for being treated at par with the PoK DPs of 1947.

 In addition to above two categories of refugees there are around 5764 families who had migrated in 1947 from West Pakistan which was not part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir and settled down in various areas of Jammu, Samba and Kathua Districts. These families have not been provided any facility by the State Government because of the reason that they were not residents of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir like the other two categories of refugees i.e. Chhamb refugees and PoK refugees. These families have been continuously demanding permanent resident status in the J&K State so that they can also avail the facilities which are available to the citizens of the State and also the facilities which have been provided to DPs to Chhamb and PoK. In addition to the problems raised by PoK and Chhamb refugees their main demand is for declaring them as permanent residents of the state. These families are the voters of the parliament but have not voting right in the assembly elections in view of the status being non residents of the state.

In addition to above two categories of refugees there are around 5764 families who had migrated in 1947 from West Pakistan which was not part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir and settled down in various areas of Jammu, Samba and Kathua Districts. These families have not been provided any facility by the State Government because of the reason that they were not residents of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir like the other two categories of refugees i.e. Chhamb refugees and PoK refugees. These families have been continuously demanding permanent resident status in the J&K State so that they can also avail the facilities which are available to the citizens of the State and also the facilities which have been provided to DPs to Chhamb and PoK. In addition to the problems raised by PoK and Chhamb refugees their main demand is for declaring them as permanent residents of the state. These families are the voters of the parliament but have not voting right in the assembly elections in view of the status being non residents of the state.

 Government had constituted to look into the problems of displaced persons including West Pakistani Refugees and the recommendations of the Committee are presently under consideration before the Cabinet Sub Committee.

Government had constituted Wadhwa Committee to look into the problems of displaced persons including West Pakistani Refugees and the recommendations of the Committee are presently under consideration before the Cabinet Sub Committee.

 At this stage the issues raised by various organizations of PoK refugees and Chhamb Refugees can be considered by the Government as they are permanent resident of the J&K State whereas the problem raised by West Pakistan Refugees can be considered by the Competent Authority after the report / recommendations of the Cabinet Sub Committee are received and their residential status is decided.

At this stage the issues raised by various organizations of PoK refugees and Chhamb Refugees can be considered by the Government as they are permanent resident of the J&K State whereas the problem raised by West Pakistan Refugees can be considered by the Competent Authority after the report / recommendations of the Cabinet Sub Committee are received and their residential status is decided.

 Pertinent to mention here that although, there is no State / Evacuees land available that could be offered to all the deficient families in terms of the aforesaid Cabinet orders, yet the request of such deficient families for allotment of State / Evacuees land as is found under their cultivating possession, are being acceded to on regular basis, after having the matter enquired through the Custodian. Evacuees Property (Ex-Officio Provincial Rehabilitation Officer) Jammu on case to case basis. However since the number of such families which claim EP / State land under their possession is very few, the demand of all deficient families for allotment of land in lieu of land deficiency is not possible as such once the package is accepted such process shall also be stopped and the families shall be compensated by one time grant.

Pertinent to mention here that although, there is no State / Evacuees land available that could be offered to all the deficient families in terms of the aforesaid Cabinet orders, yet the request of such deficient families for allotment of State / Evacuees land as is found under their cultivating possession, are being acceded to on regular basis, after having the matter enquired through the Custodian. Evacuees Property (Ex-Officio Provincial Rehabilitation Officer) Jammu on case to case basis. However since the number of such families which claim EP / State land under their possession is very few, the demand of all deficient families for allotment of land in lieu of land deficiency is not possible as such once the package is accepted such process shall also be stopped and the families shall be compensated by one time grant.

 Based on the inputs received from various organization during the interaction Hon’ble Revenue Minister held with the representatives of the DPs following issues need consideration of the Government and most of these issues are to be taken up with Government of India.

Payment of exgratia compensation in favour of 36384 families (26319 PoK DP families and 10065 Chhamb DPs of 1965 and 1971) @ 25.00 lac per family. The amount is being proposed to compensate such families against the loss suffered by them on account of immovable and movable properties left out in Pakistan.

       I.         Payment of exgratia compensation in favour of 36384 families (26319 PoK DP families and 10065 Chhamb DPs of 1965 and 1971) @ 25.00 lac per family. The amount is being proposed to compensate such families against the loss suffered by them on account of immovable and movable properties left out in Pakistan.

      II.     Recommendations to be made to GoI for providing Job reservation in paramilitary forces / army and other Central Government Services for the children of PoK and Chhamb Refugees.

      III.      Recommendations to be made to GoI for providing reservation in professional colleges outside State for the children of PoK and Chhamb Refugees.

     IV.     Taking up the matter with Ministry of Home Affairs for providing copies of record, regarding Chhamb displaced persons of 1965 / 1971 which have been taken by Displaced Persons Rehabilitation Authority (DPRA) constituted by Ministry of Home Affairs along with them after completing the Rehabilitation process.

     V.       Constitution of Committee under the Chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner for examining the pending claims on account of land deficiency enlistment of left out families, allotment of plots etc in respect of PoK Refugees/Chhamb refugees.

    VI.       Digitalization / Computerization of records / papers lying in office of Provincial Rehabilitation Officer Jammu.

   VII.     Amendment to Section 3 -A of the Agrarian Reforms Act 1976 for extending the benefit of occupancy tenancy rights on evacuees land allotted in favour of Chhamb Refugees of 1965 and 1971 which will place them at par with PoK DPs of 1947.

    VIII As regards item No IV, V, VII, above the action is to be taken by the State Government. Records are being computerized / digitaiized through outsourcing.

Accordingly, Commr/Secretary to Government, Revenue Department, with the approval of the Hon’ble Minister of State for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Independent Charge), submits the following resolution to the Cabinet for consideration / approval:-

 Sanction is accorded to:-

 a. Recommending the proposal to Government of India for providing of funds to the tune of Rs 9096 crores for payment of compensation as one time settlement in favour of 36384 PoK / Chhamb families @ 25.00 lac per family.

 b. Constitution of a committee under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner Jammu with Deputy Commissioner’s Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Rajouri and Poonch as its members to settle the issues of pending claims on account of land deficiency / enlistment of left out families etc. the Committee shall make its recommendations alongwith the details of the families entitled to any relief so that matter is settled by the competent authority.

  c. Authorizing Revenue Department to move an amendment in Section 3-A of the Agrarian Reforms Act 1976 for bringing Chhamb Refugees of 1965 and 1971 at par with PoK DPs in respect of E.P Land.

  d. Making recommendation to the Government of India for:-

    i.  Providing of reservation in professional colleges outside J&K State for the children of refugees of PoK, 1947, Chhamb DPs.

     ii.Providing reservation in jobs in paramilitary forces / army and other Central Government Services for the children of PoK / Chhamb refugees.

    iii. Providing copies of the records about chhamb displaced persons of 1965 / 1971.

    iv.  Inclusion of left out families for providing of incentives.

About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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