Mehbooba wants Delhi’s direct role in relief

SRINAGAR: President of Peoples Democratic Party Mehbooba Mufti Friday appealed the Union government to declare floods in J&K as a “national calamity”, citing the alleged  failure of the state government to reach out to the victims .

Mehbooba rang up the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh and expressed her disappointment at the inadequate response to the disaster in the state which had already taken a heavy toll of life, property and infrastructure.

According to a party statement, she told the Home Minister that the fury of the weather still continues to unfold there is already a disaster of unprecedented dimensions taking shape. She said that the floods in J&K should be declared as ‘National Calamity’.

The PDP Chief told the Home Minister that it was unfortunate to find that a disaster management exercise was still nowhere in sight. Mehbooba said the concern that was rightly shown towards the people affected by the recent ceasefire violations in the state is clearly missing this time.

She said more than 70 people had so far lost their lives in Jammu & Kashmir regions and there was a massive damage to infrastructure like roads, bridges, embankments, power and water supply lines. She said while the long term relief and rehabilitation package will have to be worked out keeping in view the extent of damage, the rescue operations could not be delayed as a large number of people were facing threat to their lives in cities, village and remote hilly areas alike.

“Even the traditional flood control measures like sand bags are unavailable and the elementary rescue apparatus, the boasts are in short supply. There is a huge deficit of boats and even their deployment is not done properly,” she added. Mehbooba said the governments are put to test at the times of emergency and this government was fully exposed for its failure to rise to the occasion.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba also spoke to the Corps Commander in Srinagar and urged him to organize rescue and relief operations and help the state administration and local people in this hour of crisis. She told him that boats were required in large numbers in almost all the areas and that needed to be accorded priority.   The Core Commander assured her of all possible help and assistance in reaching out to the affected people with relief and rescue measures

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