Central team seeks reassessment of flood losses

Verification teams to check variations

4The Union Home Ministry team, which carried out survey of losses suffered by the State due to floods, has found glaring variations in the damage assessment report prepared by the state government for seeking special financial package from Government of India (GoI).
Sources said the central team headed by Joint Secretary in Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), M Gopal Reddy, during its visit to the State has found variation in the report prepared by J&K government about losses suffered due to the floods.
After detection of variation, the J&K government has constituted verification teams to prepare fresh and accurate estimates.
The teams at the district level are headed by Additional Deputy Commissioners.
Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Itrat Hussain, said the verification teams have been constituted to verify the assessment of losses carried out by the State officials earlier.
State officials said the loss estimates prepared earlier were not final as many of the areas were then still under water.
“In many areas which remained submerged, the extent of damage was preliminary. Even the earlier assessment of the loss to the public infrastructure was temporary as many of the bridges and roads, which were thought to have been damaged by the flood, were found intact,” said a senior government official.
After officials prepared the damage assessment report, the government had sought financial package of Rs 44,000 crores from GoI to rehabilitate the flood- hit victims and rebuild the damaged infrastructure.
“The variation is because of the fact that water has receded from major areas of Kashmir now,” officials said adding in some districts like Bandipora some villages are still under water.
A senior official said in Bandipora district, at least three villages are still under water and number of houses that have been estimated to be damaged could vary when water recedes from these areas.
He said based on existing SDRF norms, people whose houses have collapsed have been paid ex-gratia relief to the extent of Rs 75,000. “Out of 10,500 structures damaged in Bandipora district, ex-gratia relief has been released as per the prevailing norms to over 8,600 families”.
Sources, however, said number of public and private structures could vary during the verification process and in case the Central government agrees to enhance the ex-gratia relief for the collapsed and damaged houses, the additional money would later be disbursed to the affected families.
“Even as state government has put the losses to the agriculture and horticulture sector in Kashmir division at Rs 5,000 crore based on submergence level of the different areas, the Deputy Commissioners are now working out the exact fruit and crop losses based on the ground survey of the house-hold list available with them,” they said.

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