Kashmir Recalls 2014 Flood Nightmare

The first anniversary of the devastating floods of September 2014 is being observed on Monday.
As many as 300 people died in the floods which ravaged large parts of Kashmir valley, sweeping away houses and cars and turning lush farmland into a muddy wasteland.
Kashmir Recalls 2014 Flood NightmareAccording to the official figures, apart from damage caused to 261361 structures, farm sector of 3.27 lakh hectares of agricultural land and 3.96 lakh hectares of horticulture land also suffered damage.
Similarly, under public sector, 6,910 kms of road length, 559 bridges, 3,063 PHE schemes, 6,423 irrigation works and schemes, 4,202 sub-stations, 11,671 kms of electric conductors, besides 6,466 other buildings suffered damages.
A year after the deluge, the flood victims feel hard done by the governments at the Centre and in the state, complaining that little has been done for their rehabilitation.
“I lost both my house and shop in the floods. It has been the hardest year of my life. I had hoped that government will help victims like me, but they only gave us peanuts in the name of relief and rehabilitation,” said 73-year-old Noor Mohammad Bhat of Rajbagh.
“I know many well off families which were reduced to penury. Had it not been for the courage of Kashmiris to bounce back on their own they would have been forced to beg while waiting for the elusive rehabilitation package,” he added.
Last month, the state Cabinet, which met under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed approved the proposal of the Relief and Rehabilitation Department for availing World Bank assistance of USD 250 Million (Rs 1500 cr approx) for the Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP) which among other things envisages capacity building, setting up of emergency operating system and strengthening of state disaster management authority.
The family of Abdul Ahad Wani, a resident of Shivpora, has been putting up with his relatives in Hawal locality of downtown Srinagar as he struggles to meet the expenses of reconstructing his house.
“The compensation amount given by the government is not enough to construct a new house given the escalating cost of building material,” he said.
“People like me expected some help from the much-publicized rehabilitation package of central government but even after one year we have not received any monetary assistance,” Wani added.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh had said yesterday that a “big” financial package will soon be sanctioned to the state for the rehabilitation of the affected people.
“Centre had given some money which we distributed. A big package will be announced soon. You know the government has to go into the details as to where the money will be spent, (but) it will come soon,” Singh said.
He said the financial package would be bigger than the Rs 44,000 crore package proposed by the previous government.
The state government has planned to mark September 7 as the Revival Day even as traders, separatists and opposition National Conference have called for a strike to protest against the failure of the government to rehabilitate victims.

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