Kashmir Inc Seeks Int’l Aid For Flood Hit

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SRINAGAR: Disappointed with central government’s recent Rs 1677 Crore rehabilitation package for State’s flood-affected people, a leading traders’ body in Valley on Thursday asked Modi government to allow international donors to send their aid directly to Kashmir while opposition National Conference called for convening of special session of J&K Assembly to seek proper package from Delhi.

“The losses suffered by J&K people during floods were estimated to be about 1 lakhs crores by economic experts, Rs 44000 crores by previous J&K government and Rs. 21800 Crores by World Bank through its  initial Quick Assessment Report,” Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) president Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad said in a statement here today.

The statement was issued at the end of a special meeting of trade body’s  executive committee which discussed the Flood Rehabilitation Package announced by the Central Government on 16th of June 2015. 

KCC&I expressed deep resentment over what it termed as unjustifiable and unrealistic package. 

The body expressed shock over ‘biased and discriminatory’ attitude of Central Government by applying a different yardstick to the damages suffered by the people of Kashmir and state of Uttarakand.

According to KCC&I flood affected in Utrakhand were granted Rs seven lac for a damaged house while as only one lac fifty thousand rupees have been allowed in case of Kashmir. 

Furthermore, nothing has been announced for rehabilitation of traders, business, industry, horticulture and other sectors who suffered massive losses  which will lead to economic  disaster, it said. 

“This has left the people of Kashmir and the business community shell shocked”, Sheikh Ashik said. 

The loss is estimated at about 1 Lac Crore by experts, 44000 crore by the State Government and Rs. 21800 Crore by the World Bank through its  initial Quick Assessment Report although the final assessment could have been done by the World Bank through Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) which actually will be more than 1 lac Crore, KCC&I statement said.

Besides the fact that World Bank  and  ADB in their empirical studies have found out that the indirect and secondary  cost of  disaster may be more than 2 ½  times the cost of direct losses, it further read.

“In view of the inability of the Sate government in getting justice for its people and the Government of India’s abject failure in providing relief and rehabilitation measures, the KCC&I decided to appeal to Government of India to allow International Donors,  including Kashmir Diaspora abroad  to send aid to the Kashmir directly to enable them to rehabilitate affected people”, he said. 

According to KCC&I President: Under current circumstances the international aid is the only option left for the people of Kashmir to mitigate their suffering.

Kashmir witnessed worst-ever floods in September last year. The floods caused death of about 300 people and destroyed over three lakh structures.

Meanwhile opposition National Conference today termed Rs 1667 crore rehabilitation package to the State as “mediocre”, “disgusting” and “insulting”.

“We call on government to convene a special session of the State legislature for passing a unanimous resolution for seeking a proper rehabilitation package for the flood victims from central government,” NC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said while addressing a press conference.

He said the special session of legislature has become a necessity and should be convened as soon as possible.

State Congress chief G A Mir accused Modi government of treating J&K people as beggars.

“Rs 1677 Cr package is a cruel joke to flood affected people of Kashmir,” he said adding instead of rehabilitating flood affectees properly, centre and State government are playing with the emotions of people.

Asserting that the prejudiced approach of Modi government has further agonized the people, Mir warned PDP-BJP coalition government of consequences if centre and state governments don’t stop playing with emotions of people.

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