The flood devastated Srinagar city may have more shelter-less people than expected. The government’s initial assessment has ignored the reality that tens of thousands of professionals and employees were living in rented spaces within and outside the government and have merely survived with almost everything lost.
For tens of thousands of people serving private, semi-government, government and financial services would prefer hiring spaces in Kursoo, Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Batamaloo, Bal Garden, Karan Nagar and Bemina belts and they have suffered the same fate as their landlords.
They fled from the flooded belts with their landlords and lost everything they had. In certain cases, they left even without sandals.
Given the access the flooded belts had with the never centres of power and business, these would be the ideal places for the service sector people to live in. Even hundreds of people serving the government, mostly police and fire services, would hire places in the areas not far away from their place of posting.
“While the flat I lived in belonged to the landlord,” one private bank official said. “The fact is that it was me who was housing it for last nine years.” The banker said that whatever he had earned, he spent in making the flat better for the family and when floods came, we barely managed to leave with “lives literally in our hands”.
The fact is that anything between the concrete walls belonged to these people who had hired it. These included kitchens, beddings, TVs, books, footwear and clothes.
This is the case with the government employees living in the government flats, or the Evacuees Property spaces or the private hotels. All these families are without any shelter right now and would require assistance to start their lives afresh.
A top government officer said while this larger reality was ignored in the basic assessment, the government will take a call on this during the final assessment.