SRINAGAR: A year after the devastating floods hit Kashmir Valley, the government has failed to compensate the victims for the losses they suffered.
On September 6 and 7 last year, life in Kashmir was thrown out of gear by one of the most devastating floods in its history. Around 300 people died and property worth millions of rupees got damaged.Even after a year, most of the flood-hit people have either received no relief amount or only a paltry amount of Rs 2,300 or Rs 3,800 from the government for their rehabilitation.
“So far, the government gave us only Rs 2,300 in the form of cheque. It is peanuts... I had to cough up thousands of rupees just for clearing the rubble of my house,” Abdullah Mandoo, a resident of Srinagar’s uptown Bemina locality, said.
To protest against the government’s failure, the business community here has called for a complete shutdown in Kashmir. The shutdown call is supported by all major separatists groups and also some mainstream political parties, including Opposition National Conference (NC).
After the floods, the state government had sent a Rs 44,000-crore proposal to the Centre for rehabilitation of flood-hit people and traders. Nine months later, the Centre finally announced a financial package. But the assistance amount of Rs 1,667 crore left Kashmiris disappointed. Subsequently, NC general secretary Ali Sagar called upon the government to convene a special session of the legislature for passing a unanimous resolution to seek a proper rehabilitation package. In reaction, the PDP-BJP coalition Government said it was just an initial relief amount.
Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said the government was still awaiting the financial package and blamed the previous government led by the NC for sending a proposal to the government without doing proper homework.
On Friday, the state High Court pulled up the Centre for failing to provide the Jammu and Kashmir Government with the financial package.The state government had demanded a flood package on the pattern given to the Ladakh flash flood victims, wherein everyone who was affected by the disaster got at least Rs 2 lakh and those affected severely got a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. Contrary to this, most of the Kashmir flood victims have either been provided Rs 2,300 or Rs 3,800. In some cases, the people whose houses were completely damaged got up to Rs 75,000 as compensation.
Following heavy rains in April, the government was caught unprepared as Kashmir was almost hit by another flood.The government has also failed to carry dredging of both the Jhelum and flood channel.
Experts have called for an alternative flood channel and preservation of water absorption basins. But no work has been done so far.