SC panel wants engineers to examine flood-hit houses

The Supreme Court-appointed panel tasked with assessing the ground situation in flood-ravaged areas of Jammu and Kashmir has recommended that a team of  engineers be appointed to examine whether the houses hit by the floods in the State are still habitable or not.
A separate report filed by one of the members of the SC panel and president of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association Mian Abdul Qayoom, reveals that the job to see the damage of the flood affected houses has been left to NaibTehsildars and Patwaries who are not experts in this field.
The report divulges that no effort was made by the Government and its agencies to dewater the areas where flood water had entered and caused havoc and “as a result, those houses have also collapsed which were not initially affected by the floods.”
“Even after entering of flood waters in the villages, towns and offices, no effort was made by the Government to evacuate the people and settle them temporarily at some safer places. This task was either left to be done by civilians or volunteers,” reads the report.
As to whether the relief has reached the affected people, the report said there is no account of that with anyone.
Citing the instance of 51 truckloads of rice “forcibly taken away by Superintendent of Police Budgam and stored somewhere else”, the report unfolds that there is no account whether the relief has reached to the affected people.
Unveiling that the relief that has come from outside has been distributed by some NGOs “in an unfair and unjust manner”, the report indicates that there is no record of these NGOs anywhere, “though they no doubt provided relief material to certain areas, but not to the ones which needed it most.”
Underscoring that no checks and balances have been placed on NGOs during the distribution of relief, the report reveals that  “any NGO whether registered or un-registered, on its liking, has gone to any area and provided material to the people, without knowing as to where from it came and what was the quantity of the relief sent and what was the one distributed.”
The report discloses that the Government has “utterly failed to provide aid and assistance to the people as no permanent medical camps have been established anywhere to provide medical aid and assistance to the people.”
The report said though in some areas people have been given free ration after September 17, “in other areas, they have been forced to pay and no free ration has been provided to them. In some areas people are even waiting for the ration of October 2014.”
“In some areas, compensation has been paid for the fully or partially damaged houses, but in certain areas, no survey has been made and no relief hat been paid to them. The amount paid to the people, whose structures have been washed away or damaged by the floods is insufficient and a paltry one,” discloses the report.
The report reveals that by no stretch of imagination, the amount paid can be termed as adequate for re-building or repairing the houses. “No relief under SDRF has been paid to any person. In some cases, compensation has been paid to next of the kin for dead but in case of others it has not been so paid because of not recovering the dead bodies. No efforts has however been made to recover those bodies in time.”
The report underlines that where flood water has entered in an area through breach of protection bunds, no effort has been made by the Government to reconstruct the breaches. “In the areas like Kulgam, Anantnag and Poonch, rivers which have changed their direction or course, no efforts have been made to bring these rivers back to their original position. Any further amount of rain is bound to devastate them again,” the report adds.
Divulging that the encroachments have been made on the river beds and constructions have been permitted to be raised unauthorizedly, the report said: “Even constructions which still exist on those river beds have not been demolished to clear the river beds.”
The report further underlines that BSNL and other Cellular Companies  closed their services during the period of flood which caused panic and aggravated the sufferings of the people. “Even on date, the services have not been restored fully.  All the Cellular companies, therefore, deserve to be taken to task for their failure to provide service to their customers at the time when it was needed most.”

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