Thousands of people rendered homeless by the deluge in Jammu and Kashmir last month are pinning their hopes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Diwali visit to the Valley, expecting him to announce a substantial package that can help them rebuild their homes before the onset of winter.
"We are hopeful that the Prime Minister, who has decided to spend Diwali in Srinagar, will announce a good package for the flood victims so that we can start picking up the threads of life again," Ghulam Ahmad, who is putting up with his family in a tent at Batamaloo said.
Ahmad is one of the over one lakh house owners in Jammu and Kashmir whose dwellings were destroyed by the century's worst ever floods in the state.
The Prime Minister today tweeted that he would spend Diwali, on Thursday, in flood-hit Srinagar.
"Will be in Srinagar on Diwali, 23d October & will spend the day with our sisters & brothers affected by the unfortunate floods," PM Modi tweeted. This will be his fourth visit to Jammu and Kashmir since taking charge as the Prime Minister in May.
Many flood victims feel that Modi's visit will not be just symbolic and the Prime Minister will announce a comprehensive plan so that the state and its people are able to rebuild the infrastructure destoyed by the floods.
"I do not think it will only a symbolic visit. He will be spending the diwali in Kashmir and expectations are high that he will come with a big gift," Mushtaq Ahmad, another flood victim, said.
According to official figures, the floods destroyed 1.04 lakh houses across the state while over 1.5 lakh houses suffered partial damage due to the natural calamity.