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Non-Camp Kashmiri Migrants organise interaction meet with Relief Commissioner at Udheywala

Jammu, February 22, 2024: The first interaction meet of Kashmiri migrants living outside of camps was convened at Udheywala, Jammu, by Vishal Jotshi, coordinator of the Vitasta Helping Hand Trust. The event was attended by a large number of prominent members of the displaced community residing in non-camp areas across different parts of Jammu.

Dr. Arvind Karwani, the new Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir, graced the meeting as the Chief Guest. Senior community social activists and leaders, M.K. Yogi and Vinod Pandita, were also present as guests of honour.

During the meeting, various pressing issues faced by the community, who have been in forced exile for over three decades in the Jammu region and elsewhere in the country, were discussed. The focus was on addressing the genuine concerns confronting the community and seeking timely resolutions.

Yogi, in his address, shed light on the plight of PM package employees, particularly highlighting the challenges faced by over fifteen hundred mainly female employees who are currently residing on a rental basis in the valley. He emphasized the urgent need for accommodation near their workplaces and advocated for an increase in the monthly cash assistance from Rs. 13,000 to Rs. 25,000, as well as the creation of a new employment package for unemployed educated youth within the community.

Furthermore, Yogi raised the issue of the removal of the M-form system ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls to simplify the voting process for the displaced community and eliminate long-standing discrimination.

Addressing the gathering, Vinod Pandita underscored the immediate requirement for a concrete and time-bound rehabilitation policy to facilitate the return of the displaced community to the valley with honor and dignity. He also called for the strict implementation of the Immovable Migrant Property Act of 1997 and urged the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner to act as a nodal agency for migrants in this regard.

Vaibhav Mattoo, a social activist and special invitee to the session, highlighted the critical need for regular access to pure drinking water in all camps, as well as internal repairs and maintenance of migrant quarters, urging prompt action in these areas.

Representatives from the PM Package Coordination Committee, including Rubon Saproo, Ranjan Jotshi, Vinod Tickoo, and Amit Koul, presented detailed memorandums of demands to the Relief Commissioner, addressing issues such as promotions, accommodation, and transfers of PM package employees in the valley.

In his address to the sizable gathering, Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner Dr. Arvind Karwani commended the Vitasta Helping Hand Trust for organizing the inaugural non-camp interaction meet. He assured the displaced community of his commitment to addressing their longstanding concerns, promising to escalate the issues raised during the session to the highest levels of administration for prompt resolution.

Various community members, including Mohan Lal Bhat, M L. Pandita, Shiban Ji, Virender Bindroo, Vinod Bhat, Pintoo Ji, Maharaj Krishan Koul, voiced their concerns during the event. The vote of thanks was presented by Vishal Jotshi, coordinator of the Vitasta Helping Hand Trust and organizer of the program.

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