It’s already too late. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should live up to his word of helping the flood-affected population in Jammu and Kashmir without any further delay. He had promised that he would make this state a model one in the country. That was in December last year. The masses are looking up to him.
The Prime Minister is aware of each and every problem of the people of the Valley and the rest of the state. He is not new to the state. He has known the state over the decades. He was in Kashmir on the day Jhelum waters deluged the Valley and the capital city of Srinagar and he visited again to know the latest in a month’s time to update himself on the latest situation.
In the initial days of the floods, the Centre and the people of the country rose as one to help the marooned people of Kashmir. But after the elections, the process has been slow because of multiple reasons. Modi has the opportunity to demonstrate to the suffering people that his heart beats for the people of the state and he should help in the rehabilitation of the flood victims at the earliest.
Modi has updates on the flood situation and the plight of the people almost on a weekly basis. The fact sheet is before him. The wait is on for his response. He could have responded earlier, but much of his time was consumed by the fire-fighting measures because of the deteriorating situation in Kashmir having a dangerous impact on the national security.
He is miffed that his trust has been betrayed in the political and economic spheres. The political atmosphere is polluted with extraneous factors that shrouded the real job of state governance. His dream that there will be focus on development and governance has been punctured. Even his own party men have started behaving as the ones engaged in encashment of their “first time and last time power” thinking.
A large majority of the flood-affected population in Kashmir do not have the resources to rebuild their homes and lives and retrieve the sources of their livelihood. This is true of the people from one end to the other in the Valley. The story of flood sufferers is more tragic in Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur and the plains of Jammu where more lives were lost, villages buried under huge landslides and buses and homes washed away.
Central government officials have made their own assessment. Their reports highlight the plight of the people and the desperate need to rehabilitate them in a dignified manner. Theirs was a non-partisan report with no political strings or sloganeering attached.
The Prime Minister should respond to the points listed in these reports, which have spotlighted the human angle. These suffering classes should have been the priority for any government and the Prime Minister should have paid extra attention. The hope for that had risen after he sanctioned Rs 2,100 crore under the State Disaster Relief Fund. Apart from that, the Centre has given more funds, which the state government, for reasons best known to it, is not acknowledging.
Some of these funds have been pilfered. No account book has been maintained to show where these funds have been utilised and who the beneficiaries are. The revelation of the beneficiaries will bring out the partisan manner in which the money was spent since September last year.
The economic recovery was possible had the concerns of the business community and traders taken care of. They are struggling to rebuild their lives. Their businesses have been torn apart. Some of them have got the loans to rebuild their establishments. The loans are not charity. Their activity will reactivate the economy. That’s a must.Much noise is being made about the World Bank loan of Rs 1,500 crore. At the end of the day, it is the Government of India that will pay it back.
That apart, the Prime Minister should come to the rescue of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and ensure that whatever money is allocated as relief or provided for infrastructure projects is spent in a transparent manner. Otherwise, the Centre will be held guilty of shutting its eyes to the corruption that is inherent in the system of this state.