SRINAGAR: Opposition Peoples Democratic Party chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make Srinagar a part of Smart Cities Project announced in the Union budget, so that the process of rebuilding the city can start "instantaneously".
"If Srinagar is included in the Smart Cities project, as the money has already been provided in the budget, the process of rebuilding can start instantaneously," he said.
"I think no city can lay a greater claim on the project than Srinagar, which needs to be made livable after undergoing massive destruction during the September floods," he said.
He said the focus of the post-flood rehabilitation programme in the state should be on rebuilding of the economy and restoration of the livelihood of the people.
"The devastating floods have not only destroyed assets, but severely impaired the process of income generation and it will take the state economy nearly a decade to recover," Sayeed said during his tour of flood-hit areas of Srinagar and Anantnag districts.
He said the state government has after a long delay submitted Rs 44,000 crore relief and rehabilitation plan to the Centre and it will take a long time to get funds and benefits to fructify on the ground.
"The Centre shall have to take practical and urgent measures to address the issues of immediate concern," he said.
He said the Union budget for the current year has allocated Rs 2,000 crore for urban renewal mission for making cities livable with better infrastructure.
The city should also be included in the National Heritage and City Development and Augmentation Yojna for conserving its heritage character impaired by the floods.
Sayeed urged Asian Development Bank and World Bank to send their teams to the state at the earliest to assess the needs of the state devastated by the floods.
"In addition to needs assessment, I request these institutions to start long-term programmes for restoration of livelihood and capacity building in the state. This will allow us to leap-frog into the 21st century," he said.
Applauding the Supreme Court judgement on settlement of insurance claims, Sayeed said it is our responsibility to look at those losses as well which have not been insured.
"A large chunk of losses in agriculture, horticulture, trade and businesses are not insured in the flood-hit areas. While lessons need to be learnt from this tragedy, it is important that Centre and the multilateral institutions cover these losses through fully funded financial package," he said.
The PDP patron also urged the Non-Resident Kashmiris to help rebuild Kashmir by setting up institutions of international standards in the state.