Make Omar govt accountable for Rs 1000 cr relief package: Modi tells traders' bodies
What could likely spark a controversy, prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the trading community in Srinagar to make the state government accountable for Rs 1,000 crore relief amount released by him.india Updated: Oct 23, 2014 18:53 IST
What could likely spark a controversy, prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the trading community in Srinagar to make the state government accountable for Rs 1,000 crore relief amount released by him.
The state government has been in denial of receiving the amount announced by the prime minister earlier for relief of flood-affected people.
"The prime minister asked us to make the local government accountable for the money released by him for relief. He said the money stands released and the government has failed to spent it," said Muhammad Ashraf Mir and Afaq Qadri, representatives of the State Economic Reconstruction Forum, a amalgam of traders' bodies, after the meeting.
The prime minister had announced the amount during his first visit to assess flood damages on September 8 from the Prime Minister's fund for disasters.
Meanwhile, the SERF members said they asked the prime minister to allow foreign aid to Kashmir. "Kashmir should be declared a free economic zone and Kashmir the part of the make in India story possible. We shared the figures of Rs one lakh core damages to housing and business sectors with the prime minister," said Qadri.
The prime minister also told another civil society delegation, Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), that the relief amount announced by him stands released. "We were surprised to know it because the government has given the impression it has not been released," said KCSDS member Shakeel Qalander. KCSDS is a Srinagar-based research and advocacy group.
Qalander said he expressed displeasure over "slugging approach of the the central government to reach out to the flood affected population." "We demanded foreign aid to be allowed through bodies like World Bank and Asian Development Bank since the magnitude of losses is huge," said Qalander.
The advocacy group suggest a unified mechanism to regulate and manage relief and rehabilitation operations. "We also suggest deferring of polls till rehabilitation is not done," he said adding that a judicial probe should be ordered into the causes of floods and inundation of Srinagar city.
The prime minister met a number of traders in Srinagar, including association of transporters.
However, no member of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) and senior trader Mubeen Shah were not allowed to meet the prime minister. Though Shah was invited but his name was not cleared later. There was no invitation sent out to the KCCI, an important trading body of the valley. More than four trading bodies met the PM in Srinagar.