Reiterating its commitment to fully rehabilitate the victims of September 2014 deluge and reconstruct the flood-ravaged infrastructure, the State Government today said efforts would be also intensified to ensure that such catastrophes don’t recur in future. “Rehabilitation of the flood-affected continues to be a work in progress, but there are still gaps in entire rehabilitation and reconstruction process which need to be filled at the earliest,” Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said while chairing the State Cabinet meeting here today.
Pertinently, it was on this day last year that Jammu and Kashmir was hit by a devastating flood, one of the costliest natural disasters in the State’s recent history.
According to Education Minister, Mr Naeem Akhtar, who is also the State Government spokesman, the Chief Minister told his cabinet colleagues that reconstruction of the flood-ravaged infrastructure has already been taken up and visible progress made in restoring road communication network, bridges, healthcare and educational facilities. “Work is in progress in other sectors as well and the rehabilitation and reconstruction process is going on,” he said and hoped that the Centre will partner with the State Government in not only reviving the livelihood of the flood-affected people but also in rebuilding a safe and stable Jammu and Kashmir.
The Chief Minister said that he was deeply saddened by the puerile comments of those who procrastinated when in power and were primarily responsible for the colossal damage to the life and property. “The same people who were responsible for compounding the miseries of the people during the deluge because of their inaction are now trying to score brownie points over the people’s tragedies,” he said.
“While September 2014 deluge left behind a trail of destruction, devastating both private and public infrastructure, but the most remarkable facet at that horrible point in time was the awesome power of human kindness and compassion that enveloped us as hundreds of volunteers and forces personnel streamed into the deluged areas for rescue and relief operations,” he said and added that these volunteers, especially the youth, worked tirelessly for weeks to help us get back on our feet. “We will be forever grateful to all who supported us during those testing times in our hour of need,” he said and added the devastating floods showed us that the new generation of Kashmiris has come of age and they have taken the centre-stage.
“The catastrophe has restored our confidence in our own abilities. It may not have yet secured our future, but it has certainly given us hope,” he said and added that a new spirit of concern, compassion and camaraderie was demonstrated on the streets of Kashmir on daily basis by the young volunteers during those difficult times.
Sayeed said the September 2014 flood took lives and destroyed livelihood. “It demolished public and private assets and devastated the state economy,” he said and added that while the flood shook every foundation in sight, it laid a new foundation of rebuilding a secure and stable Jammu and Kashmir.
Sayeed said the State Government has got down to a time-bound plan of action for providing relief to the uninsured flood-affected traders and destitute, to help them revive their livelihood. “Under the scheme, the shopkeepers whose turnover is up to Rs 5 lakh are being provided Rs 1 lakh compensation, while as those whose turnover is less than Rs 10 lakh are given assistance of Rs 1.50 lakh by the Government. The uninsured traders whose turnover was more than Rs 10 lakh, are given cash assistance of Rs 2 lakh,” he said and added that hundreds of shopkeepers and destitute have already been handed-over compensation under the scheme and the process is on.
The Chief Minister said to tackle future threat of floods, Government has initiated various measures including availing an assistance of Rs 1500 crore from the World Bank for flood management of major rivers. “In addition a separate Rs 400 crore plan has been formulated for flood management along River Jhelum,” he said and added that special focus is being laid on construction of an alternate flood channel from Dogripora to Wullar at a cost of Rs 2200 crore.
Seeking people’s cooperation in avoiding such catastrophes in future, the Chief Minister said the public must cooperate in removing obstructions and encroachments from the flood channels, nallahs and rivers for which the administration has already launched a drive across the State.
Expressing solidarity with the victims, the cabinet remembered all those who lost their lives in 2014 flood fury.