‘Can’t force Centre to take quick decisions on Rs 44,000 cr package’
The Supreme Court Monday made it clear to the Jammu and Kashmir government that it cannot force the Centre to take quick decisions on its demand for Rs 44,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.
“We cannot to be forcing them to take a decision tomorrow,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Sikri said.
“Appropriate decision will be taken by the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission,” the bench said in a brief order.
The state government has demanded central grant of Rs 44,000 crore for rehabilitation of flood victims. Centre has announced over Rs 1,700 crore assistance to the state to help the flood victims.
The apex court asked the state government to apprise it of relief and rehabilitation work undertaken so far by the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) in the flood-ravaged state.
“You (State) should be in a position to tell us as to what has been done so far,” it said.
“The state has said that the authority (SDMA) has been constituted and it is functioning. However, the Advocate General has not been able inform us about the decisions taken by it,” it said and sought a report from the state government on November 24, the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, the court asked the state government to ensure that there was no shortage of warm clothes and food items for the victims.
The state government said that it has postponed the annual examinations for classes I to VIII and will have to “impress upon” the state education board for taking the same step for students of class IX to XII.
During the hearing, senior advocate and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh said that there was lack of medicines and medical equipments in hospitals in the state.
Earlier, the Election Commission had told the apex court that its Model Code of Conduct will not come in the way of ongoing relief and rehabilitation work for the flood victims in the state which is going to polls in five phases from November 25.
The bench is hearing petitions including the PIL filed by Bhim Singh.
Earlier, the apex court had favoured relaxation of Model Code of Conduct in poll-bound Jammu and Kashmir to remove any hindrance in government’s relief and rehabilitation work.
The court had also raised questions about the ongoing relief and rehabilitation work in the state after going through a report filed by a committee appointed by it.
The committee, in its report, had said people in many affected areas had not got any relief from government side so far.
It had said that relief was not being properly and equitably distributed in some districts, particularly in Srinagar, Udhampur and Rajouri.
The committee had also alleged that there was lack of sufficient number of doctors in the state and adequate number of medical practitioners be sent from AIIMS, PGI Chandigarh and other hospitals to affected areas.
The apex court had on September 24 had appointed a five- member committee headed by senior registrar of Jammu and Kashmir High Court to ascertain the ground situation of the flood-affected state.