Updated: September 30, 2014 6:40:24 am
In its first media interaction after floods ravaged Srinagar, the J&K government said it worked round the clock during the calamity, but failed to publicise their action as communication channels were not functioning. The claim is a turnaround from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s remark that the state government was “paralysed” during the calamity.
The state government also provided its initial assessment of losses, pegging it at 100 thousand crore rupees. It said that the floods affected 5,642 villages, 800 of which were completely submerged. Chief Secretary Iqbal Khanday said that 281 people — 196 in Jammu division and 85 in Kashmir — lost their life in the floods and 29 people are still missing in the Valley.
“We were working,” said Khanday at a press conference in Srinagar. “The newspapers were not functioning, communication lines were down, so we could not publicise our presence”.
The press conference that was attended by top officials including Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajendra and Divisional Commissioner Rohit Kansal gave way to commotion when the officials failed to answer the barrage of question from journalists.
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The government defended its failure to foresee the calamity, saying that sudden “high magnitude” cloud bursts in south Kashmir led to rise in water levels that submerged Srinagar.
“The water was receding and the weather was improving,” said Secretary Irrigation and Flood Control Pawan Kotwal. “During night, there were sudden high magnitude cloud bursts in Kounser Nag and Vaishav stream, causing the sudden rise in Jhelum,” he said.
The government also said it has formulated a proposal for relief and rehabilitation of the affected families and proposed a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for a completely damaged house and Rs 2 lakh for a partially damaged one.
Houses still submerged, people take to streets
SRINAGAR: With several neighbourhoods in Srinagar still inundated, people have started taking to the streets to vent their resentment with the government, which they claimed was doing little to dewater the city. “Where is the government? Our houses can collapse any time as water is still inside,” Rayees Ahmad, a resident of Parimpora in the outskirts of the city said. “I heard an official saying on the television that process of dewatering is about to finish. It is a lie,” he added. At many places, including Rajbagh, Shivpora, Jawahar Nagar, locals are using boats. “Yesterday, I went to check my house in Jawahar Nagar. Still there is water in the lanes of our area,” Abdul Rashid, a government employee said. ENS
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