Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (PC) chief Sajad Lone Wednesday said that post flood relief operation has become “a new tool of plunder and loot” in the hands of politicians to inflict all sorts of cruelties on to the people who have lost and suffered during the recent floods.
In a statement, he said, “On one hand we have the ruling National Conference (NC) which seems to be of the firm belief that only those affiliated with them deserve relief. They are shamelessly and selectively distributing relief amongst their own workers and on the other hand we have the local MLAs of other parties like the Congress and the PDP who operate within their own fiefdoms and are as disdainful in restricting relief to their own sympathizers. The prospect of elections has further linked relief with votes and relief is being directed towards voting areas at the cost of those areas who won’t vote.”
The PC chief said that extraordinary situations merit extraordinary responses. “Worst disasters often shake up a nation out of its stupor and the cruelest shed their cruel instincts to get together and give a collective response to the disaster. But out here even the worst floods in a century have left the polity unmoved,” he said.
“Ironically this entire polity, now busy in looting the flood hit of their relief, was missing when the fury of the floods were most intense. They were as missing as they were in 1989. As waters abated, our band of politicians made an appearance all replete with photo opportunities and press statements,” Lone said.
He also alleged the bureaucracy, “which was missing during the floods”, of “meekly following the diktats of the local politicians”. “Our polity will finally transform the whole flood disaster into a joke. I predict that very soon we will be discussing the scams in the relief distribution not the floods. The so called damage assessments made by the government are yet again politically motivated. The list of those hit by floods is a cruel joke,” Lone said.
The assessment ranging from damaged houses to loss of agricultural income, he said, is heavily influenced by party affiliations, wherein the landless seems to have lost agricultural income and the floodless areas have damaged houses.
“There has been no proper assessment for loss of agricultural or horticulture income. The private sector is being misled into believing that they will be compensated. There is not even a discourse as to how we restore the glory of Srinagar. Nobody even debates the fact that it was not exclusively nature’s fury. That a part of the catastrophe was certainly man made,” the PC chief said.
“Out dated building laws, encroachments, filling up of hundreds of streams- all in collusion with corrupt politicians, partly abetted the destruction of Srinagar and large swathes of our valley. Our polity has remained unmoved and unchanged for decades and their role post flood is no surprise. They probably will never change. The big question confronting all of us is whether people will change. If floods could not change our polity nothing else probably can change them. If floods don’t change our people nothing else will change them,” he added.