Expressing dismay over the sluggish relief and rehabilitation measures for the flood-affected people in Jammu and Kashmir, People's Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday called for tangible action on war footing to provide shelter to the displaced families, besides ensuring rations and timely reconstruction of their damaged houses.
Interacting with the representatives of various trade and business bodies, who called on him here on Friday, Sayeed said the government of India should come forward to meet immediate needs of the vulnerable population in the flood-affected areas and provide them appropriate support through standard and sufficient assistance package.
"The government of India should announce a comprehensive and acceptable relief and rehabilitation package for the flood-affected people in Jammu and Kashmir given the enormity of the tragedy," he said.
The Kashmir Inc was represented at the meeting by KCCI president Sheikh Aashiq Hussain, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) chairman Showkat Choudhary and Lal Chowk Traders Federation president Mairaj-ud-Din. PDP leaders Syed Altaf Bukhari and Rauf Punjabi were also present on the occasion.
Sayeed said food, housing and livelihood are the areas of immediate concern for the flood-affected people and the same need emergency response from the government of India.
He said the half-hearted measures are not going to help the large population whose lives and livelihoods have been ravaged by the devastating floods.
"Unfortunately, almost a month after the devastating floods hit Kashmir, the state government is yet to come out with the recovery needs assessment data to press for a reasonable relief package for the flood-affected people from the Centre," he said and added that besides announcing a relief package for displaced households for reconstruction and restoration of damaged houses, the government must responsively workout a special flood recovery grant for the revival of affected trade, businesses, agriculture and horticulture sectors.
"The package should include a new credit line with special interest rates, tax incentives, debt moratorium and investment privileges for the businesses affected by the floods," he said.
Sayeed said as per the preliminary reports around 5 lakh households have got displaced due to the floods in Kashmir and the government's priority should be to provide them with all-weather shelters as was done during the 2005 earthquake.
"The paltry relief of Rs 70000 announced by the state government for each fully damaged house is grossly inadequate," he said and added that the approaching winter season could have serious implications for the families who have lost their homes, and immediate measures need to be taken to provide them with decent shelters.
The PDP patron said that the response to the flood crisis calls for using all available resources, both within and outside the state, including approaching the multinational institutions, like Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank and Global
Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) to cope with the massive rehabilitation challenge ahead.
Sayeed said as a responsive and responsible opposition, the PDP would extend, whatever cooperation is needed, in the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package for the flood-affected people.