Kashmir floods an international disaster: Govt
The government Monday termed Kashmir floods as an international disaster.
“This was not a disaster of national but international ramifications,” Chief Secretary, Muhammad Iqbal Khanday said addressing a news conference here.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared Kashmir floods as a “national disaster”.
Khanday said this was a classic case on urban flooding and would be studied worldwide.
Kashmir was hit by one of the worst floods in a century in which at least 281 people died while thousands were rendered homeless.
The chief secretary said Kashmir had suffered losses in excess of Rs 1 trillion (Rs 100,000 crore).
He said across the State, 12.5 lakh families have been affected due to floods.
“According to a rough estimate, the housing sector in Kashmir has suffered losses over Rs 30,000 crore while the business sector had suffered losses worth more than Rs 70,000 crore,” Khanday said.
Earlier, a civil society group Kashmir Center for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS) had pegged the losses in Kashmir floods at Rs 1 trillion.
The government said it was working on a memorandum to be sent to Government of India for seeking assistance for the rehabilitation of the flood-hit people of Kashmir.
“We are in the process of preparing a memorandum, which would be approved by the State cabinet and sent to GoI by the weekend,” the chief secretary said. “The chief minister has already written to the prime minister seeking special package for the flood-hit people of the State and we hope GoI goes out of way to provide succor to the people affected by this tragedy.”
Khanday said the State government would demand Rs 5 lakh for the houses fully damaged in floods and Rs 2 lakh for partially damaged houses.
He said the State government’s report seeking Rs 2200 crore for carrying dredging and other safety activities for prevention of floods in Kashmir was still pending with the government.
“Only Rs 97 crore was spent on the project while Rs 2200 crore were requisition,” the chief secretary said.
In 2010, former minister for Public Health Engineering and Flood Control and now Health minister, Taj Mohuiddin had prepared a report seeking Rs 2200 crore warning a massive flood in Kashmir.
Khanday said he was sure that the GoI would sanction this project.
“Had the project been sanctioned, Jhelum and the flood channels that retained 35,000 to 50,000 cusecs of water would collectively have retained 1.20 lakh cusecs of water, which was the discharge of the flood,” the chief secretary said.
He said 281 people had died in the floods including 85 in Kashmir province and 196 in Jammu province while 29 were reported to be missing in floods.
Khanday said 5642 villages were affected across the State with 2489 in Kashmir valley and 3153 in Jammu division.
He said as many as 800 villages remained sub-merged for over two weeks.
The government also ruled out any possibility of Darbar not moving to Jammu, the winter capital of the State in order to oversee the rehabilitation of the flood-hit Kashmiris.
“The government will maintain an effective presence in Kashmir and rehabilitation work would be overseen by officers at the highest level,” the chief secretary said.
The government also played down the accusations that certain politicians in their respective constituencies had not allowed breach of strategically important bunds so that the population at large could be saved by floods.
“It is not true that politicians did not allow breach of bunds at some places although at some places they may have but the river breached naturally,” he said.
The chief secretary ruled out any possibility of an outbreak of epidemic.
“So far, there has been no trend of an outbreak of any disease from the entire state,” Khanday said.