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Opposition to Sainik Colony in Valley is unjustified and motivated: Brig Gupta

Condemning the call given by Geelani and other Hurriyat leaders for a shutdown in Valley today, Brigadier Anil Gupta, BJP state Spokesperson said that a soldier while defending his motherland or fellow countrymen does not differentiate between any region/ religion. Similarly, the cause of the soldiers should be supported by all irrespective of their individual beliefs. The soldiers deserve to have a piece of land for building a shelter for their families, said Brig Gupta. Unfortunately, rather than supporting the cause of the soldiers, separatists and valley-centric politicians are playing divisive politics at their cost which has adverse impact on their morale.
Justifying the need for Sainik Colonies in the state, Brig Gupta explained, “A soldier remains away from his home during his service due to the constraints of the service. Most of the times he has to stay separated from his family either due to non-availability of family accommodation or due to being posted in a non-family station. He, however, desires to provide good education to his children and medical facilities to his family. He prefers to keep his family in a nearby urban town with good educational and medical facilities. Since, the salary is his only source of income he cannot afford to buy property at the existing market rates. He, therefore looks forward to the government to provide him subsidised housing/land. Most of the state governments used to provide subsidised housing/ land for Sainik/Defence Colonies. In fact, a Sainik Colony was also established in Jammu in 1974 with the help of the state government. Later, in order to cater to this peculiar need of soldiers, the Armed Forces started The Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO) and Naval and Air Force Welfare Housing Organisation. Since, J&K enjoyed a special status, the schemes could not be launched in the state. Hence, the soldiers belonging to J&K were deprived of a major welfare project launched by the Armed Forces.”
J&K today has large population of soldiers both serving and retired. There is only one Sainik Colony in the state. With JAK LI becoming a regular regiment of the Indian Army with 100 % recruitment from the state, number of soldiers and their families has increased considerably in the Valley itself. Keeping these facts in mind the previous governments led by NC patron Farooq Abdullah and President Omar Abdullah had agreed to the idea of exclusive colonies for the soldiers with land to be provided by the government at subsidised rates. JKESL started construction of two such colonies around Jammu named Rajinder Vihar and Kargil Vihar. It has been almost two decades but the land has yet not been allotted by the administration for these colonies, despite the fact that poor soldiers have deposited their hard earned money with JKESL in the hope that they would own a house one day.
“A Sainik Colony in the valley is needed keeping in view the welfare of the soldiers belonging to the state. Those playing politics with the sentiments of the soldiers will have to pay a heavy price for the same because if soldiers decide to come to streets for their cause, it would be disastrous,” warned Brig Gupta.