Srinagar, May 10: TosaMaidan Bachao Front (TBF), School for Rural Development and Environment (SRDE) and J&K RTI Movement has welcomed the decision of the state government to pay compensation to civilian victims of army’s field firing and artillery practices in Jammu and Kashmir, but said that the compensation should be increased as per the impact on the inhabitants and ecology of the TosaMaidan area in Budgam district.
In a joint statement, the organisations said that the compensation is paltry compared to the suffering and pain of the victims during these years. Most of the survivors and victims of the Army’s firing range lost their livelihood and could not provide meals, education and other basic facilities to their children.
The organisations demanded that the government should pay compensation of Rs 20 lakhs incase of death, Rs 10 lakh for 100 percent disability and Rs 5 lakh for partial disability. And those who lost their crops and cattle should be compensated as will be assessed and fixed jointly by Revenue, Agriculture and Animal and Sheep Husbandry departments of the government. The impact and loss on environment, wildlife, forest, water resources, flora and fauna should be assessed and compensation fixed by School for Rural Development and Environment (SRDE) and Forest department.
The statement said that community compensation should be paid by the government in the form of community driven adventure and rural tourism as per the proposal submitted by TBF and SRDE to the state government on 29 March 2015.
“Women of the affected areas in TosaMaidan should have reservation in the community driven tourism and TosaMaidan Development Authority. Also, the women should be actively involved and considered in decision making of TDA,” Lubna Sayed Qadri, Executive Director SRDE, said.
Patron J&K RTI Movement and TBF, Dr Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, said that the compensation as demanded by the organisations should be expedited.
“The process of fixing and paying compensation should be expedited by the government, instead of delaying and involving tedious process for payment and procedures. Besides the locals should be involved in development of the Tourism authority to provide them healing touch,” he said while emphasizing that environment and ecology should be protected during any development project.
As per government, Rs 2.50 lakh has been fixed as compensation in case of death of a person due to field firing and artillery practices in the state. Those rendered 100 per cent disabled will get Rs 2 lakh compensation, while those with 50-100 per cent disability will get Rs 1.50 lakh. The affected with 50 per cent disability will receive Rs 1 lakh compensation, the government has said in the notification.
The rate of compensation for damage to livestock and crops have also been fixed with a compensation of Rs 5,000 each for the death of a goat or sheep, Rs 25,000 for a buffalo, Rs 20,000 for a cow and bull each and Rs 25,000 for a horse, the notification said.
The state government said the loss to crops will be assessed by the revenue authorities concerned, adding the compensation rates for the evacuation of people due to field firing have also been fixed as Rs 151 per day and Rs 225 per night will be given to men and women above the age of 18 years. Rs 75 will be given to children above the age of 12 and less than 18 years per day, the notification added.
The victim families have hailed the role of the TBF and SDRE in advocating their cause of shifting the firing and artillery range from the TosaMaidan, bringing in community based tourism and also pressurizing the government to provide compensation to them. (KNS)