Urging the state government to put its act together even at this late stage, Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Friday alleged that the claims made by the government about relief efforts are mostly confined to the announcements.
According to a statement after visiting several affected areas of South Kashmir and Srinagar, the PDP president, said that the inadequate arrangement for pumping out flood waters from the most inundated areas is threatening lives and surviving buildings besides adding to the economic loss suffered by people in Valley.
“Many areas in South Kashmir, Srinagar city and other parts of central and North Kashmir continue to be inundated”, she said adding that the mechanical dewatering of these areas has not been taken up at the desired pace.
In Srinagar, she said, the main business centers around Lal Chowk, Badshah Chowk, Hari Singh High Street, Residency Road, Moulana Azad Road continue to be filled with water with the result that the shops and business establishments are not able to revive their activity. The business establishments have suffered a huge loss in the recent floods but the inaction on the part of government has even snatched their opportunity to retrieve whatever goods might have survived the calamity.
Along with the continued inundation of residential areas like Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Gogjibagh, Batmaloo, Karan Nagar, Bemina and Qamarwari the inability to dispose of dead animals has made it impossible for the survivors even to visit these areas not to speak of picking of threads of life again, she added. She said heavy duty pumps needed to be deployed but it seems that there is lack of coordination between centre and state governments as hardly any major dewatering machinery is in evidence anywhere functional in the affected areas.
Mehbooba said that dewatering challenge is also frustrating people in many villages of South Kashmir where houses could collapse now, after the flood devastating their standing crops, fruit and vegetables. She said that it seems that the government is still unable to comprehend the impact of the floods and extent of devastation, which is being compounded now by administrative inaction.
The PDP president said in rural Kashmir, especially in the apple growing areas of Shopian, Pulwama and North Kashmir the farmers have suffered immense loss to the fruit after having made huge investment throughout the season. She said that whatever fruit has survived is now facing the prospect of rotting on the trees because of non-availability of transportation facility. In Kulgam, she said, some villages have altogether disappeared rendering hundreds of families homeless, but the administration was yet to wake up from its slumber.
Mehbooba said that the reports reaching from Jammu region also present a grim picture of government inability and administrative apathy even at this belated stage. “The floods have caused huge damage to residential houses, roads, bridges, standing crops and infrastructure in various parts of Jammu region and now the government inaction to provide timely relief to the affected people was compounding the miseries of general masses”, she said.
Most of the Relief, she said, is being done on community level despite tall claims being made by the government. The relief from the government, she observed, was not being distributed properly and to the satisfaction of the general masses giving an impression that the ruling dispensation was yet to realize the gravity of situation.
PDP, she said, had in the recently held All Party meeting suggested that the relief material be distributed through community and religious institutions but nothing of that sort has been done so far creating lot of problems. Some politicians, it seems, were trying to use the relief mater sent by government of India to promote their own political interests, which was unfortunate and condemnable.
The PDP president further observed that non-availability of ration was also creating problems in various parts of the state, particular Kashmir valley. She said that even the people living in the areas which were not affected by the floods were not getting paid ration from the government depots.