Modi announces Rs 745 crore relief for Kashmir's flood-hit homes and hospitals
Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his Kashmir visit on Thursday by announcing a relief package of Rs 745 crore relief for flood-effected people in Jammu and kashmir.
The Prime Minister said the relief of Rs 570 crores was for rehabilitation of the flood affected and Rs 175 crores for renovation of six hospitals in the state.
"I had seen that hospitals were in bad shape and needed renovation. I have also asked the government to provide books and all kinds of essential supplies required for their education,'' Modi told reporters at the Raj Bhawan.
The package of Rs 44,000 that government of Jammu and Kashmir wanted was not announced. "The package that the government wants is being verified,'' the Prime Minister said.
"I have come to the state today to show solidarity with people of the state. I have always maintained that the calamity is not only for the people of the state, it is a clamity for the entire country. The nation stands with the people of the valley,'' the Prime Minister said.
After reaching Srinagar, the Prime Minister met delegations of flood affected people, traders, civil society, Sikh and Pandit minority groups besides representatives of various political parties.
A special plane carrying Modi landed at the technical area of Srinagar airport around 2.10pm where he was received by governor NN Vohra, chief minister Omar Abdullah and members of his council of ministers besides senior officers of civil, military and police.
The Prime Minister had one-to-one meeting with Omar Abdullah in which the chief minister briefed him on the gigantic challenge of reconstructing Jammu and Kashmir and rehabilitating the flood affected families.
He also emphasized the need of early sanctioning of the comprehensive special rehabilitation programme recommended by the state government to the Centre.
The prime minister also had a separate meeting with the top officers of the State in which Governor NN Vohra and chief minister Omar Abdullah also participated..
The officers of the state Government presented detailed account of work done by the State Government on relief and rehabilitation front. They also identified the needs of the State for recovery, rehabilitation ad reconstruction of the public infrastructure.
Modi's visit was celebrated by BJP workers who gathered in the hear of the city to welcome him, even as shops and business establishments remained closed because of a bandh call by separatists.
Party workers praised Modi for the special attention he is giving to Kashmir. This is the prime minister's fourth visit to the state since he came to power in May this year. The previous visit was on September 7, during the devastating floods in the state.
After his visit to Siachen to spend time with soldiers on Diwali, Prime Minister Modi landed in Srinagar to meet victims of the recent floods in Jammu and Kashmir.
All leading political parties except Congress are scheduled to meet visiting PM Narendra Modi at Raj Bhawan on Thursday afternoon.
"We are not meeting the prime minister. We were asked, but we have decided not to meet," senior Congress leader and MLC Ghulam Nabi Monga told the Hindustan Times.
The PM's decision to celebrate Diwali in the valley comes in the backdrop of devastating floods of September. The unprecedented floods, that hit the valley after a century, killed over 200 and rendered hundreds homeless.
Also, Modi's visit comes after a recent flare-up in violence in Kashmir, with at least 20 civilian dying in cross-border skirmishes earlier this month amid mutual recriminations over who provoked the firing.
Modi visit mere optics, says Mirwaiz
Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq meanwhile criticised the Modi government for `not undertaking any rehabilitation work in the valley'
Speaking to HT from his Hazratbal residence, where he remained under house arrest on Diwali day, Mirwaiz Umar said, "BJP led government has neither announced any package for the flood victims nor is allowing any international aid to come to the valley. Either they should help out the flood affected in a big way or allow international aid to come in."
"So the visit is mere optics, that too aimed more at people in India than Kashmir''. Mirwaiz said the Prime Minister did not 'bother to even address the Kashmiri people on Eid'.
The moderate Hurriyat chairman was placed under house detention in the morning fearing that he was planning an anti-Modi rally in downtown Srinagar.
Mirwaiz however did not support the shutdown call given by hardline hurriyat . "We did not want a shutdown as our non-Muslim brothers and sisters have to celebrate Diwali," he said.
Meanwhile chief minister Omar Abdullah criticised the separatists for their hartal call. "If we down the shutters of shops on his arrival and then expect relief from Prime Minister. I think it's mere hypocrisy,'' Abdullah told a news channel.