Airport authorities have allegedly halted relief material meant for volunteer organizations working in the flood hit Kashmir valley, since Friday. The several ton consignments of medicines, baby food and packaged drinking water aren’t being allowed by the airport authorities at New Delhi and Srinagar airport for unconfirmed reasons. While the state government says relief material coming from outside the state is flowing smoothly, the trucks of local volunteer organizations who reached airport yesterday to fetch the material returned empty.
Kashmir Volunteers in Delhi Flood Relief (KVFDR), a volunteer group of Kashmiri students studying in Delhi who started rescue and relief operations from Srinagar on September 9, say they are running short of relief stock as their relief consignment of six-ton relief is stalled at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi and Srinagar International Airport.
“After the floods, the state government had failed to help and rescue people. And this was the sole reason for prompting a volunteer effort from Kashmiris living outside the state; to help and support flood victims,” says one of the organizers (wishing anonymity) of KVFDR. “Since last two weeks, we have distributed tones of relief material in the form of; medicines, baby food, milk, packaged drinking water, tents, blankets. We fail to understand that when the government has finally risen up from the deep slumber to face the crisis, why is it creating hurdles in the voluntary relief effort?”
“For last two days, they [government] are asking us to get clearance from different officials and security wings,” says another member of the group.
The government on the other hand says it is following the directions of Prime Minister to ensure free flow of relief material to registered NGOs. Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Farooq Shah says he has no information of any relief consignment being stuck at the airport. “As per my information the relief flow was moving smoothly,” he says.
Local volunteers, however, allege that they have been meeting officials continuously since last two days. Despite the assurances by the top-level officials that “the matter will be sorted”, volunteer groups say nothing has happened.
“Our stock of relief material is getting thin, since we haven’t been able to receive new supplies. Even though the officials we talked to, assured us the matter will be solved, but the consignment hasn’t been allowed to pass till now,” says one of the volunteers.
When contacted Divisional Commissioner Rohit Kansal’s office informed Kashmir Life that they have no such information regarding relief material being stalled at the airport.