Need to set up 24X7 helplines for flood victims: Azad

  • PTI, None, Jammu
  • Updated: Sep 25, 2014 21:44 IST

Asserting that the Congress leadership is fully with the flood-hit people of Jammu and Kashmir during this unprecedented disaster, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday underlined the need to operationalise helplines for relieving the flood victims of psychological stress.

"Congress is fully with the people in this unprecedented disaster... There is a need to operationalise 24x7 helplines for relieving the flood victims of psychological stress," Azad said after visiting flood-hit areas of Shangus and Kokernag constituencies of South Kashmir.

Azad, accompanied by AICC general secretary and state Congress president Saif-ud-Din Soz, interacted with the people and conveyed to them his deepest sympathies for suffering unprecedented losses to their houses, business establishments, orchards, agricultural land and livestock.

Observing that there has been widespread destruction due to catastrophic floods, Azad said, "Unequalled damage to public and private properties is starkly visible in all parts of the state and one feels deeply pained to see the scenes of devastation, wreck and ruin." "Orchards have been damaged, fruits destroyed, large patches of agricultural land washed away... houses are crumbling, paddy crop is ruined, roads and bridges are ravaged," he added.

During the entire visit, people laid emphasis on the grant of actual compensation for the damages suffered by them in the flood, besides seeking immediate restoration of public infrastructure like roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, power supply system, etc.

While taking note of the large-scale damage caused to the private property and public infrastructure, Azad assured the people of all support at his command to tide over this difficult phase, adding that no slackness in terms of commitment and effort will be shown to stand by the people of the state in this trying hour.

He also advised the people to cooperate with the administrative machinery for correct and timely recording of the damages suffered by them so that correct estimates of the damages to be projected before the Centre by the state Government could be reached at.

Azad felt that the administration also needs to adopt a sensitive and proactive approach to reach out to the people who have suffered damages, in that the process of damage assessment becomes hassle-free and visibly fair.

Calling for speedy and efficient assessment of the damages, Azad also underlined the need of operationalise 24x7 helplines for relieving the flood victims of psychological stress, adding that it is equally important to be seen as responsive and people-friendly.

AICC general secretary Ambika Soni, who accompanied Azad, also assured the people of her solid support in getting them adequate compensation at least equivalent to, if not more, what the disaster hit people of Uttarakhand got.

She further said that having seen the horrible scenes of devastation caused by the flood waters, it is imperative that people are adequately compensated for the losses they have suffered to rebuild their lives.

Laying emphasis on collective effort, Azad said all the government agencies, political parties, civil society and the people at large, especially the youth, have to work in complete coordination for erasing the scars left by the devastating floods in Kashmir Valley and many parts of Jammu province.

He said the big challenge of reconstruction and rebuilding has to be met with a sense of togetherness, seriousness and fortitude.

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