PM’s Diwali gift: Rs 745 Cr for flood-hit JK
State Govt should quickly spend already released Rs 1000 Cr: Modi
‘Assistance in addition to Rs 44,000 Cr loss memo pending with GoI’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday announced an assistance of Rs 745 crore for flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
Talking to reporters at the Governor’s House here, the prime minister said the package includes an amount of Rs 570 crore for the repairs of houses and Rs 175 crore for renovation of six major hospitals damaged in recent floods in Kashmir valley, Ladakh and Jammu.
Modi said the Rs 745 crore assistance was not part of the loss memo of Rs 44,000 crore submitted by the State government to New Delhi which was still to be reviewed by Government of India.
Modi said the country shares the grief of Jammu and Kashmir and his government stands with the people in rehabilitation efforts.
The prime minister announced free replacement of books and notebooks to all children upto primary and upper primary level schools.
Later, talking to media persons at Srinagar airport on behalf of the prime minister, Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami, who accompanied Modi, said the Rs 1000 crore assistance announced by the PM during his last visit to Kashmir had already been released by New Delhi.
He said the State government needs to spend that amount quickly for the flood-hit people of the State.
Goswami said the State government had presented a memorandum for seeking special package for rehabilitation of the flood victims.
However, he said that the detailed assessment of losses was yet to be completed by the State Government.
Goswami said the prime minister had directed the concerned officers of the Government of India that as soon as the detailed assessment of the State government would be completed, they should examine the memorandum quickly with due sensitivity.
The union home secretary said the PM had also directed that all necessary steps be taken for providing relief to the affected people and for restoration of normal life.
Goswami said Modi particularly emphasized the need for providing immediate relief to the people residing in tents and temporary shelters, revival of economic activity in the State, addressing sustainable livelihood issues, quick settlement of insurance claims, speedy restoration of public infrastructure, strengthening of State Disaster Management Authority and preparation of contingency plan for effective handling of such a challenge in future.
Modi visited Srinagar to spend Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, with the flood-hit people of Kashmir and to review the work related to relief and rehabilitation of the victims.
The prime minister also reviewed the work related to re-construction and restoration of public infrastructure like roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.
Goswami said during his visit, Modi held detailed discussions with Governor Narender Nath Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other functionaries of the State government at the Srinagar airport.
He said that the PM took stock of the work connected with the assessment of losses and steps taken for providing immediate relief to the affected people particularly to meet the challenge of the impending harsh winter.
Goswami quoted the prime minister as saying that good governance, quick restoration of public infrastructure, revival of economic activity and creation of conducive environment for bringing tourists to the State was the key to bring normalcy.
He said PM’s visit to Srinagar on the occasion of Diwali would send out a signal that everything was fine in Kashmir and this would help promote tourism.
During his visit, the prime minister also interacted with the representatives of major political parties, Fruit and Saffron Growers Association, hoteliers, houseboat owners, boatmen, travel agents, NGOs, voluntary groups, civil society members, members of trade bodies and industrialists, representatives of private and missionary schools, transporters, members from handloom and handicraft sector and academicians.
A delegation of Civil Society Forum (CSF) led by Omar Shafi Tramboo met the prime minister and urged him for liberal funding for restoration of healthcare in the valley. Tramboo apprised the prime minister about the damage suffered by the major hospitals in Srinagar during the recent floods.
Goswami said the PM had taken note of the suggestions and demands put forth by the State government and other groups.
Modi arrived in Srinagar Thursday afternoon to spend Diwali with the flood-hit people of the state. He was received at the Srinagar airport by the Governor and the Chief Minister.
The Prime Minister held a meeting at the airport during which Omar briefed him about the relief and rehabilitation operations going on in the flood-hit areas. Omar pitched for a liberal financial assistance from the Centre for rebuilding the devastated areas in the state.
Omar had on Wednesday expressed the hope the Prime Minister would accept the state government’s demand for a Rs 44,000 crore package for relief to the flood-hit people.
After taking stock of the situation at the airport, Modi flew in a helicopter to Raj Bhawan to hold interactions with delegations of political parties, business community and civil society.
This is Modi’s second visit to J&K after the recent floods. During his first visit on September seven after the natural calamity struck the state, the Prime Minister had announced a Rs 1,000 crore special assistance package for rehabilitation of the victims.
This was Modi’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir after the recent floods. On his first visit to Kashmir after floods on September 7, Modi had announced a Rs 1000 crore special assistance package for rehabilitation of the flood victims after declaring Kashmir floods as a “national calamity”.
Earlier, the Prime Minister visited Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield of the world, to spend Diwali with the soldiers posted there.