A civil society formation Sunday pitched for constitution of a joint body comprising governmental and non-governmental agencies for undertaking reconstruction of the flood-hit Kashmir.
“The magnitude of losses is so huge that no government will be able to carry out the reconstruction and rehabilitation of around 50 lakh affected people. And in this situation, the UN, different countries and NGOs in the world should be allowed to send their aid to Kashmir,” said Chairperson, Kashmir Center for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), HameedaNayeem. She was addressing a press conference here.
She demanded that a unified body by the name of ‘State Flood Relief Authority’ should be set up for carrying out the rehabilitation and reconstruction program in Kashmir.
This Authority, the KCSDS suggested, should comprise of state government agencies, civil society actors, donors and persons engaged in collection and distribution of aid.
“The aid already received in the Prime Minister’s and Chief Minister’s relief fund should be transferred to this Authority,” the KCSDS demanded.
The flood in Kashmir last month, considered to be worst in a century, has affected thousands of villages in the Valley and also the summer capital Srinagar. As per an official survey, at least 2.61 lakh structures got damaged, with a large number of them either washed away by the deluge or razed to ground.
The public and private sectors, and the business community faced huge losses. Last month, the government said the losses were to the tune of Rs one lakh crore.
The KCSDS asked the government to “show promptness” in executing the relief and rehabilitation measures.
“The criminal delay by both the state and central government in carrying out the relief and rehabilitation measures is deplorable,” said businessman Mubeen Shah, who was present in the KCSDS presser.
On Friday, the state cabinet approved a relief package of Rs 44000 crore for submission to New Delhi for providing financial assistance to the flood-hit people. Under it, the quantum of assistance the government has proposed varies from Rs 9 lakh to Rs 4 lakh depending upon the severity of the damage.
“If the present situation is allowed to continue and there are no efforts to provide compensation, the loss of confidence in the institutions will further deepen among people,” said Shah. “Both the state and the central government are deliberately ignoring the gravity and the enormity of the losses due to the flood.”
Senior KCSDS member ShakeelQalander said both the state government and government of India were “buying time and this catastrophe is being ignored”.
He said: “A superficial normalcy is being forced to give an impression to outside world that situation has returned to normalcy which is untrue.”
Qalander said around six lakh youth who were engaged in business sector, agriculture and horticulture sectors are at the verge of losing their jobs.
“We don’t need promises but action. The Prime Minister announced Rs 1000 crore relief for Kashmir but not a single penny has been released so far,” he said.
The civil society group reiterated its demand for a judicial probe into the causes of flood and alleged criminal negligence on part of the authorities concerned