Expressing dismay over the sluggish relief and rehabilitation measures for the flood-affected people in Jammu and Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Friday called for tangible action on war-footing basis to provide shelter to the displaced families, ensure rations for the victims, assistance for reconstruction of damaged houses, regeneration of livelihood and revival of trade and business activities.
As per a statement Mufti, while interacting with the representatives of various trade and business bodies, who called on him, said the Government of India should come forward to meet immediate needs of the vulnerable population in the flood-affected areas and provide them appropriate support through standard and sufficient assistance packages. “The Government of India should announce a comprehensive and acceptable relief and rehabilitation package for the flood-affected people in Jammu and Kashmir given the enormity of the tragedy,” he said.
Mufti has also said that food, housing and livelihood are the areas of immediate concern for the flood-affected people and the same need emergency response from the Government of India. He said the half-hearted measures are not going to help the large population whose lives and livelihoods have been ravaged by the devastating floods. “Unfortunately, almost a month after the devastating floods hit Kashmir, the State Government is yet to come out with the Recovery Needs Assessment data to press for a reasonable relief package for the flood-affected people from the Centre,” he said and added that besides announcing a relief package for displaced households for reconstruction and restoration of damaged houses, the Government must responsively workout a special flood recovery grant for the revival of affected trade, businesses, agriculture and horticulture sectors. “The package should include a new credit line with special interest rates, tax incentives, debt moratorium and investment privileges for the businesses affected by the floods,” he said.
Mufti has said that as per the preliminary reports around 5 lakh households have got displaced due to the floods in Kashmir and the government’s priority should be to provide them with all-weather shelters as was done during 2005 earthquake. “The paltry relief of Rs 70000 announced by the State Government for each fully damaged house is grossly inadequate,” he said and added that the approaching winter season could have serious implications for the families who have lost their homes, and immediate measures need to be taken to provide them with decent shelters.
The PDP Patron said that the response to the flood crisis calls for using all available resources, both within and outside the state, including approaching the multinational institutions like Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) to cope up with the massive rehabilitation challenge ahead.
Sayeed has also said as a responsive and responsible opposition, PDP would extend, whatever cooperation is needed, in the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package for the flood-affected people.