Traders, Civil Society Reject Flood Relief Package


SRINAGAR: Unanimously rejecting the package of Rs 2,437 crore announced by the Centre for reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood-ravaged people, representatives of Kashmir’s  business community and Civil Society on Wednesday termed it as further humiliation of the Kashmiri people.

“We were pursuing the package for the last 10 months and the Centre had promised us that they will prioritize addressing our concern, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president, Sheikh Ashiq Hussain told reporters here. 

Sheikh said said the latest relief package has shocked the business community as a whole.

“There is nothing for us in this package. The announcement is shocking and we reject the package. It is a humiliation for the people,” 

Sheikh said at a joint press conference of.

Besides KCCI, representatives of Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), House Boat Owners Association (HBOA) and other members of business community and civil society were present.

President KCCI stated that the package is ‘too less’ compared to the package given to Uttarakhand. 

The representatives demanded that the ruling party should be held accountable for not keeping its word. “PDP and all the MLAs should resign from the coalition government. New Delhi has cracked a cruel joke against people of Kashmir,” Sheikh Ashiq pointed out.

The central government on Tuesday announced an additional package of Rs 1,667 crores for the state of Jammu and Kashmir after the earlier reimbursement of approximately 2,600 crore for rebuilding and rehabilitation, against the government’s recommendation of Rs 4,400 crores.

“The package is not even sufficient to compensate the damage incurred to housing sector. It is as good as peanuts,” said Chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance Mohammad Yasin Khan.

“We don’t understand for what sin are they punishing us for? We had made a loss estimate of Rs one lakh crore, but the state government submitted a proposal of Rs 44,000 crore. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) had promised to release the package soon. But this is rubbing salt on our wounds,” Khan said.

He said the ruling PDP had entered into the alliance with the BJP on the pretext of getting required funds from the Centre, but the party has failed to do so.

He asked the PDP to break away from the coalition to protest what he called was “joke of the decade”.

“They should part ways with the BJP. All the MLAs should resign to protest this joke of the decade. They should join us in demanding a comprehensive package,” Khan said.

“The tall claims of the government of India that we (Kashmiris) are their brothers stand exposed. A step-motherly attitude was adopted towards Kashmiri people right from the rescue operations to providing relief,” , senior civil society member Shakeel Qalandar said.

He also criticized the Union Power Minister, Piyush Goyal for opposing the state government’s demand of approving a share in profits of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, saying the NHPC’s presence in the state was “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Qalander highlighted the ‘exploitation’ caused to state treasury by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and demanded corporations ouster from Kashmir. “The state should give us the money NHPC makes and the millions they make out of our resources will compensate all our losses,” Qalandar, who is an economic expert said.

“We stand united to tell the state government to throw NHPC out of the state. They are here illegally and unconstitutionally. There is no document to prove that they have a legal stand to stay here,” he said.

The members also demanded setting up of IIT, IIM, IIMC along with AIIMS in the Kashmir valley.

They said they would soon form a committee to come up with a programme for the future course of action.

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