SRINAGAR: A year after the devastating floods struck Jammu and Kashmir, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today asked the Centre to allow international aid to the state if it did not have money or was unwilling to announce any package for rehabilitation of victims.
"We want that aid should come from wherever it can. If the Centre is not ready to give financial aid, or it does not have the money, then we should be allowed to get it from where we are getting it (internationally)," Omar told reporters after donating blood as part of his party's blood donation camp to mark the first anniversary of the floods here. Omar, who is working president of opposition National Conference (NC), said people of the state had suffered from both sides, as neither had the Centre given any package nor did it allow any international aid.
"We (the previous NC-Congress government) had started the process of getting international aid by talking to the World Bank. The first meeting, I had with the officials of World Bank and Asian Development Bank before the election code (came into force). "We had prepared a project but there has been no forward movement on that as well. So, we suffered from both the sides.
Neither did we get anything from here, nor from where we would have got some money," the former chief minister said. Terming as "unfortunate" the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party's (PDP) decision to celebrate the anniversary of the floods, Omar said, "...the reality is that the people, who were affected by the floods, have got nothing to celebrate." He said, now, the high court had to take a suo motu notice as a result of "non-efficiency" of this government.
"The court has compelled the state as well as the central government to answer. Now, we hope that due to high court's pressure, people would get something which these people (governments) were unwilling to give till now. They were not ready to give the people anything on their own. Whatever,I had given to people during my regime, they had got nothing more than that," the former chief minister said.
Omar claimed whatever assistance the flood-affected people got was before March 1. "Since the PDP-BJP government was sworn-in (March 1), they (victims) have been continuously neglected. Rs 2000-Rs 2500 crore fund that they got with much difficulty was the money from State Disaster Relief Fund and first installment from Government of India which was announced on the spot during my regime. Not a penny extra," he alleged.