Following explicit directions of the Governor, Satya Pal Malik to the administration to provide all basic services and supplies to the people in Kashmir division during the winter months when the durbar is at Jammu, Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam Sunday held an extensive review with the divisional and district administration of Kashmir division at Srinagar and impressed upon the concerned departments/agencies to work 24×7 to ensure that people are provided all basic necessities in particular power, water, essential commodities, and petroleum products during the winter months without any interruption.
Chief Secretary directed the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir division to remain alive to the weather prediction for the next week and ensure that the action plan for restoration of basic services is in place in advance with role clarity for the convenience of the people.
While conveying the appreciation of the Governor to the concerned departments, divisional and district administration for their untiring efforts in the restoration of various services post snowfall, Chief Secretary stressed upon identifying the gaps, if any, noted during the restoration work post-November 3rd &4thsnowfall and devise appropriate strategy to tackle these in future.
Chief Secretary expressed deep anguish over the inconvenience to the people on account of extensive damage to 4 transmission towers due to which power supply in certain areas was badly affected.
He asked Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to have the matter relating to damage to these towers examined critically; lapses if any identified and report furnished to the Government, as already decided.
Recognizing the importance of power for the people in general and various key sectors in particular student community during winter months and ensuring against damage to the power infrastructure in the event of snowfall, Chief Secretary directed the PDD to check that transmission towers, power lines and poles are in good condition and trees closer to power lines are pruned as per the requirement. The PDD was further asked to keep in readiness a well-conceived ‘zone wise restoration plan’ in the event of snowfall or break down of the power supply. PDD was also asked to ensure that sufficient quantity of required material including oil for gensets be stocked in snowbound areas like Gurez and Ladakh during winters.
To ensure that major, secondary and residential roads are kept open for traffic in the event of snowfall, men and machinery is deployed rapidly to clear the roads, PW(R&B) and the district administration was asked to keep ‘zone wise snow clearance plans’ ready. It was informed that additional 15 snow ploughing machines and 22 bulldozers are being procured and will be provided to the snowfall prone districts soon to quickly and effectively deal with closure of roads during snowfall. The Deputy Commissioners were asked to spare the services of Engineers of Mechanical Engineering Wing for the restoration work in the event of heavy snowfall.
Preparedness with regard to snow/ landslide clearance, traffic management, rescue plan and facilities for stranded passengers/truckers along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and other important roads was also reviewed during the meeting.
The concerned departments and the district administration was asked to be fully prepared to ensure uninterrupted water supply, cleaning of lanes and drains and dewatering of potential waterlogged areas. “Check that dewatering pumps are in operational state and ready for use,” Chief Secretary said.
Chief Secretary asked the Health Department to ensure that hospitals have adequate heating arrangements, availability of medicine/facilities; and the alternate power source (gensets) and funds required by a hospital on this count should be immediately projected to the Government to obviate any difficulty. He specifically took stock of functioning of major hospitals including SKIMS Soura, SMHS, and G B Panth hospitals and directed the hospital administration and the health department to ensure that healthcare services are provided 24×7 to the best satisfaction of the patients.
Chief Secretary asked the School Education Department to ensure that heating facilities are provided in the examination centres being conducted by the J&K Board of School Education.
Chief Secretary also took stock of availability and stocking of ration, Gas, Petroleum, K oil and other essential food items in Kashmir division including snowbound remote areas like Gurez. He directed the Director of Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Kashmir to ensure supply of food grains and petroleum products to the consumers during the winter months. For this purpose, the Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department shall remain in constant touch with the oil companies so that there is no shortage of cooking gas and petroleum products.
Chief Secretary asked Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir to have joint control rooms functional throughout the winter months with general public kept informed through weather advisories/alerts and about the potential avalanche prone areas for their safety. He also instructed the divisional administration to share with the district administration, the names and contact details of the nodal officers designated for coordinating air rescues.
Regarding disbursement of relief among the affected farmers of the November 3rd & 4th snowfall, Chief Secretary directed the district administration to start the process of providing interim relief by November 12th, till final assessment is completed. He said that keeping in view the extensive damages/ losses caused by the snowfall of November 3rd & 4th, Governor’s administration has declared the snowfall as a State Specific Special Natural Calamity, treated the apple as a perennial crop for relief purposes under SDRF and enhanced the relief amount five times i.e from Rs 6800/Ha to Rs 36000/Ha under SDRF. Chief Secretary also added that the Government of India has been requested to depute a team to assess the quantum of damage so as to explore the possibility of providing compensation above the permissible limits under SDRF.
Besides Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Director SKIMS, Principal GMC Srinagar, DC Srinagar, DC Budgam, HoDs of various departments participated in the meeting. Deputy Commissioners of other districts including Leh and Kargil participated through video conferencing.