Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Monday called for rebuilding Jammu and Kashmir as a model state in the aftermath of the devastating floods to revive not only its old glory but creating new opportunities for development and growth.
Interacting with people during his tour of the flood-affected areas of district Pulwama, Mufti said PDP is in the process of formulating a comprehensive policy framework on sustainable and planned reconstruction of the areas devastated by the September floods and the same would be operationalized once the party comes to power with the people’s mandate.
He said PDP’s policy framework would also include a separate flood control master plan to minimize the loss to life and property in the eventuality of any future disasters and other climate threats. “PDP’s policy framework would incorporate tangible short, medium and long-term measures aimed at rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood-affected areas including rebuilding of economy and restoration of the livelihoods through latest technological and innovative interventions,” he said and added that Town Planners, Structural Engineers, Reconstruction and CSR professionals would be roped in by the party to kick-start structured rehabilitation and reconstruction programme in the State.
Expressing dismay over the Government’s alleged apathetic attitude towards the plight of the flood-hit people, Mufti said the areas of immediate concern for the administration should be housing, rations and livelihood. “Instead of restricting itself to making vacuous announcements, the Government should immediately reach out to the flood-affected people with substantial relief package especially for housing, businesses and crops destroyed and damaged by the floods,” he said and added that while adequate financial assistance should be provided for reconstruction of fully damaged houses, the houses that have suffered partial damage in the deluge and are rendered uninhabitable also need to be compensated adequately.
Mufti said besides providing assistance in cash to the affected families, the Government should create a material bank of bricks, wood, steel, cement, sand etc and provide the same on subsidized rates to the people whose houses have been damaged by floods.
Mufti said a large chunk of losses in housing, agriculture, horticulture, trade and businesses are not insured in the flood-hit areas, and such losses need to be compensated through fully funded financial package. He called for putting in place a crop insurance scheme, covering agriculture and horticulture produce, for which the premium could be shared by the Government with the growers on 50:50 basis.
He said in addition to housing and livelihood, the focus of rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts should be on immediate rebuilding of community infrastructure like dispensaries, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, water supply schemes etc in the affected areas. “It is heartening to note that the infrastructure like intra-district road links, fruit mandis and cold storage facilities developed during PDP-led coalition government’s tenure between 2003 and 2005 have proved to be of immense significance for the people especially on flood-hit areas,” he said and added that these facilities not only ensured connectivity but also offered local marketing facilities for various fruit crops.
Sayeed complimented the people from south Kashmir, especially the youth, for being on the forefront of the rescue and relief operations in the marooned areas.
According to a party statement speaking on the occasion, senior PDP leader Dr Haseeb Drabu, said, if it comes to power, PDP’s focus would be on infrastructure building in agriculture, horticulture, tourism and handicraft sectors to give a fillip to the State’s economy and create more job opportunities for the local youth by fully harnessing their enterprising skills. He said various multilateral institutions and major Indian corporates would be roped-in to build and fine-tune the infrastructure in these key sectors to achieve the desired levels of growth.