Jammu & Kashmir floods: Piecing together a tattered government

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Sep 22, 2014 16:55 IST

Running high court from a residential quarter, Srinagar municipal corporation from electricity-less empty rooms and information department from once-notorious interrogation centre Hari Niwas, Kashmir is piecing together tattered government after uncontrollable floods knocked out governance for days together on September 7.

Once imposing buildings of state high court and civil secretariat in sprawling lawns continue to fight stink emerging from stagnant waters. "Judicial relief remain suspended for 11 days. Employees should start reporting duties (to new place). The objective is to restore to people the obligation of providing them the fundamental rights," said chief justice MM Kumar.

The high court now functions from the quarter of M-5 Gupkar, near chief minister Omar Abdullah's residence, located at a height compared to submerged areas. Justice Kumar is putting up in the same building as his residential house at Sonawar "has become inhabitable," said a government spokesman.

Functioning of Srinagar district court stands divided now by Jhelum river, the source of flooding that left more than 200 dead and 6.5 lakh stranded for days together, with north city to approach Kashmir University's law department and south to custodian general building at Hyderpora. Srinagar district court on the banks of Jhelum at Sheikh Bagh has been devastated and remains under water even today.

The flooding also forced hundreds of Jammu-based employees, who work at the civil secretariat and were stranded in hotels and residential quarters, to flee from the valley. The attendance continues to be minimal in many government offices.

"All facilities would be provided to the employees returning back to duty including their accommodation and other logistic needs. Efforts should be made to salvage the office records by taking all possible measures," said general administration department secretary MA Bukhari.

All departments dealing with government schemes have already been shifted to old civil secretariat, less affected by the flood.

Ravaging floods badly hit government infrastructure and governance too: from army cantonment to police headquarters, offices of top brass engineers to radio stations, from colonies of bureaucrats to ministers. It paralysed the government for 11 days with no semblance of coordination or government functioning.

Even treasuries were not spared by fast-rising flood waters and employees, many affected by floods, are not sure when will they get their salaries. "All employees report to duty and ensure the claims of flood are disbursed. Clean up operations have been completed in all submerged treasuries and are ready for operation. From today all treasuries shall work normally," said Accounts & Treasuries director general Muhammad Yousuf Pandit.

As the city centre continues to be submerged even after two weeks, the education in hundreds of schools remain suspended, including the valley's top-notch schools of Burn Hall, Presentation Convent, Tyndale Biscoe and Delhi Public School. "Schools in flood-hit areas will be checked by the public works department (for structure's stability) before re-opening," said school education secretary Nirmal Sharma.

BSNL senior official Musharab Gul Mufti said, "It will take three to six months to restore services fully in the valley."

The only success the government can boast of is resumption of pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, which too was halted as Haj House remained submerged too. "It is heartening to resume the Haj process from Saturday," said chief minister Omar Abdullah.

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