Kashmir to Kerala: JK Bank Employees Take The Lead

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SRINAGAR: In wake of disastrous floods that killed nearly 350 people in Kerala, Kashmir is busy collecting and transferring the relief in cash and kind. Government apart, there are scores of cil society groups busy in raising donations and collecting the basic livelihood items for the sufferers.

Kashmiri volunteers assembling the relief material for the Kerala flood victims

However, J&K Bank, the premier financial organisation distinguished itself by making a statement. Its employees contributed Rs 11 crore to the relief fund by donating six days salary, an amount that will be deducted from the leave salary account of the respective employees. While the CEO will contribute a two-month salary, all other executives have announced a month’s salary to the gran relief and support initiative.

“This money is the contribution of the employees and not the bank,” a spokesman of the bank said. “This is aimed at being responsive to disasters especially in wake of the fact that Kashmir survived a crippling flood in 2014 and understands the inundation better.”

Bank’s corporate headquarters were in the water for almost a fortnight in September 2014. While most of the bank employees were busy in fighting the crisis at their own individual levels, the corporate body contributed more than Rs 12 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

But what makes the relief grant distinct is that the amount is more than the relief support announced by almost 18 states including the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state government, currently led by governor N N Vohra, has announced a relief of Rs 2 crore.

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab have announced a relief of Rs 10 crore each. Himachal, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand have announced a relief of Rs 5 crore each. Puducherry, Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir contributed Rs 2 crore each and Chattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh have contrasted Rs 3 crore each.

“It is not a matter of quantum of relief but being sensitive to situations,” the spokesman said. “We piloted the idea and hope that other sections of the employees in various state institutions also follow the suit by doing whatever is possible.”

Kerala floods have sent a number of groups to work for the relief. Athrout, one of the major relief organisations working in the capital city has started a major operation of collecting material from the people for onward transfer to Kerala. The organisers of this group have contributed part of their savings towards the flood relief in addition to what people have contributed. They are planning to visit Kerala after the Eid festivities are over.

There have been a number of groups moving door to door to collect the basic life items. Some group have already dispatched their collections bot in material and cash. In certain areas, the Mohalla relief committees have started working with the Masjid’s as their epicentre. These Mohalla Committees were instrumental in managing the Kashmir crisis in 2014 September floods.

Riffat Abdullah, the TV reporter who was caught in his office and whose struggle to move out of the inundate Rajbagh became a major hit in September 2014, joined hands with various businessmen and started collecting quick relief. “We have already dispatched three mini-truck loads,” Riffat said. “We sent the basic life materials like water, biscuits, salt, soap, flour. We did it only after we talked to some NGOs in Kerala about the actual requirement.”

Riffat said they ported the collected material to the airport and handed it over to the Indigo. The carrier is ferrying the material from across the country to Kerala. He said after the Eid is over they are reviving the campaign and ending something more. “The material we sent is for 2000 people and we will be doing more,” he said. The dispatched material included apple as well. He said they have not raised any donations but sought the material from people directly.

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