A day after the Centre announced Rs 1667 crore relief package for the rehabilitation of the flood victims in the state, representatives of trade, tourism and civil society on Wednesday unanimously rejected it saying it is a “humiliation” for the people of the state and the “biggest joke of this century”.
“It is humiliation,” said Sheikh Ashiq, President of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI). “We were promised it (flood package) will be a priority of the government but there is nothing in the package announced yesterday. We feel dejected”.
Ashiq said the traders were shocked by the relief package. “It is unfortunate and surprising that the state finance minister comes in media and expresses satisfaction over the announcement of the package,” he said. “We had several meetings with him (Drabu) in this regard. But he has only done what was of his liking. He has disregarded our inputs”.
President, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Mohammad Yaseen Khan, said the Centre was “rubbing salt on the wounds of the Kashmiri people”.
“We don’t understand 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 from 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.
Shakeel Qalandar, a member of Kashmir Centre of Social and developmental study, a civil society group, said that the package has exposed the tall claims of the Centre.
“Two years ago, rupees 700000 was provided to every household in Uttrakhand and now after 10 months, the central government here announces a package of rupees 150000 to each household. It is an insult,” Qalandar said. “From rescue operation to relief and rehabilitation, they are doing a step motherly treatment with us.”
Angry with BJP over the relief package, the joint forum said it would soon chart out a programme to press for setting-up of an IIT, IIM and IIMC for the Valley.