Construction of residential quarters for migrant pandits in the Vessu area of Jammu and Kashmir`s Anantnag district is now in full swing under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s relief package for Kashmiri migrants in the union territory. Three out of the five planned buildings have been completed and they have been allotted to migrant pandit government employees.

“The newly constructed buildings are very good. The process had slowed down for a few months due to COVID-19 and the labourers had gone to their hometowns. Now they have come back and construction is happening at a very good speed. Many families live here now and are very happy to be living with their community,” Vijay Raina, the local Sarpanch said.

He further said, “Ever since the abrogation of Article 370, development has been taking place at a never-seen-before speed. There is no more political interference and the very rapid advancement is taking place. I do not think development is taking place this fast anywhere else in the country, be it the construction of roads or water supply. Those who had never seen electricity before now have it 24/7. I am very grateful to the government,” he added.

The new buildings are being constructed under the Centre`s Prime Minister`s Employment Package (PMEP)Not only are these new residential buildings providing homes for migrant pandits in the union territory, but it is also giving employment opportunities to labourers who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Along with about 60 other labourers I came from Bihar to work here after the COVID-19 lockdown was eased. We are able to earn money and are very happy. For now, we don`t have to worry about the future,” Sharafat Ali, a labourer said.