Updated: June 17, 2015 8:03:42 am
The NDA government Tuesday said it would would immediately release Rs 2,437 crore as additional financial package for the rehabilitation of Jammu and Kashmir, which was hit by floods in September 2014.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made the announcement at a press conference, alongside Home Minister Rajnath Singh and J&K Finance Minister Haseeb A Drabu.
The National Conference, which has been protesting against “inadequate flood relief”, made a fresh attack on the government following the announcement. Former chief minister and NC chief Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Why cannot you just tell us how much of the Rs 44,000 crore package is going to be approved instead of this sanction in drips and drabs? Khoda pahar, nikla chooha (Dug a mountain to find a mouse).” The previous NC government had submitted a Rs 44,000 rehabilitation plan to the Centre.
Jaitley said Rs 2,602 crore had already been released last year and added that a team of the Niti Aayog CEO and expenditure secretary will visit J&K to take stock of the situation.
“We will make a larger development plan. Officials will discuss with the state and give their views to the Centre on areas like power, highway, education, tourism and health services. The schemes which we have tentatively announced and some more which may be there, that will be decided later,” Jaitley said.
But Abdullah questioned the rationale behind sending a team to assess the development needs of the state when an elected government was already in place. “What are CM and his team for? Does this mean you have no faith in his vision or has he totally failed to outline one?” he said.
Jaitley said the Centre has also decided to give foodgrains at Below Poverty Lines prices following the floods, and approved construction of the Jammu-Srinagar highway. A total of 75,000 houses which were damaged would also be rebuilt, Jaitley said.
Singh, meanwhile, took the opportunity to announce that the state has seen a 25 per cent decline in incidents of terror. “A prerequisite for development of any state or country is that a peaceful and secure atmosphere should be there,” he said.
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