Govt forgets rehabilitation of flood victims

Waiting for central assistance, says Revenue Secy; NC passes buck on Election authorities

As Jammu and Kashmir braces for assembly polls beginning November 25, the much-needed rehabilitation of flood victims is proving to be a damp squib on the ground. The state government, on the hand, says it is waiting for approval to a relief package it has sent to Government of India for its approval.

As of now, the government has provided an interim relief to 1.5 lakh families out of 2.4 lakh affected households.
Officials in the State Revenue department said the rehabilitation of flood-hit people is “a herculean task” and damage assessment and interim relief has already been started.
“According to set norms, we provided Rs 75,000 each to 16000 families whose houses were fully damaged. We have also provided Rs 3800 each to households whose houses were partially damaged. Rs 1500 each has been given to those whose cattle or cowsheds were damaged in the deluge,” said an official.
He said they have been able to cover only 1.5 lakh affected households so far. “The total amount spent so far is Rs 138 crore. And the total houses damaged, partially or fully, are 2.4 lakh,” he said.
This assistance, according to flood victims, is nothing given the magnitude of damage to their houses. “Winter is coming and it would be difficult for people to continue residing in makeshift tents,” said a group of flood victims from Bemina. “The entire rehabilitation process seems to be a hoax. The whole state administration is busy with elections and nobody is bothered about the fate of flood affected people. Even New Delhi has turned indifferent to the issue.”
The flood-victims slammed the government for issuing relief cheques worth Rs 3800 for partially damaged houses and Rs 1500 for damaged cow and cattle sheds. “This is not a relief but mockery in the name of relief. The government doesn’t have money to help the flood hit people and now it has started befooling people in the name of relief,” said Abdul Aziz Wani of Frestbal, Pampore, whose house developed major cracks for which he was provided Rs 3800 as relief.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Revenue Secretary Vinod Koul said till the Government of India approves the proposal regarding rehabilitation of flood-hit people, the issue will continue to be a big concern. “We have forwarded the detailed proposal of Rs 44000 crore to the GoI, but there is no response from it so far,” he said.
There is also no word from the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank whose teams conducted an assessment in Kashmir after the floods.
“The officials of ADB and WB had urged the State to make a formal request to them for seeking help in reconstructing the State infrastructure. The State took no time in making the request, but there is no headway from the other side, which is also a cause of concern,” Koul said.

National Conference General Secretary and Minister for Rural Development, Ali Muhammad Sagar said 35 Tehsildars were transferred on directions of Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narula despite “our request that they were involved in rehabilitation and should not be shifted.”
“This has obviously resulted in delay in ensuring rehabilitation of flood victims at the State level,” he said.

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