Jammu: Declaring the Jammu and Kashmir floods as “national level disaster”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced Rs. 1,000 crore as special assistance for rehabilitation while sharing the pain and anguish of the people of the State.
He made the announcement in Srinagar after undertaking a visit to the State for first hand information of the situation which has turned grim resulting in the death of over 130 people.
The Prime Minister also called upon other Sates to also pitch in with relief assistance in whatever way they could.
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Expressing his anguish at the loss that has been caused in neighbouring areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, he said India was ready to provide humanitarian assistance to the affected areas if Pakistan requires it.
“In this hour of distress, the Prime Minister offered all possible assistance to the people of the region and said that the government of India is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to those areas if the Pakistan government needs it,” he said.
“The Prime Minister shared the pain and anguish of the people as he was briefed in Jammu and in Srinagar by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and senior officials of the State government about the damage caused by the floods,” a PMO statement said.
The Prime Minister observed that the Rs. 1,100 crore which is being made available to the State government through the State Disaster Relief Fund would not prove to be adequate in view of the magnitude of the tragedy.
“An additional special project assistance of Rs. 1,000 crore will be made available by the government to the state for flood relief and rehabilitation.
Terming it as a national level disaster, Mr. Modi said that the Centre stands shoulder to shoulder with the State government and the people of the State in this hour of crisis.
The Prime Minister said that Rs. 2 lakh will be provided to the next of kin of each person whose life has been lost in this calamity and Rs. 50,000 would be provided to each person who is grievously injured and will be provided from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
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Mr. Modi said that in order to meet the immediate need of providing shelter to those who have lost their homes, the Centre will provide 5,000 tents from the armed forces and the Central Paramilitary forces.
“These will be moved from Monday onwards to various locations in the State. Rs. 5 crore will be provided from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to purchase 1 lakh blankets to the needy in this cold weather,” he said.
He maintained that in order to supplement food supply to children, the Centre will airlift 50 tonne milk powder. One consignment of essential medicines is being airlifted on Sunday evening to meet the emergency needs. More will be supplied subsequently as required, he said.
He added that teams of the Telecom department have been directed to restore telecommunication links in the fastest possible manner to the affected areas.
“Army engineers are working to repair damaged bridges. Boats have been requisitioned from Gujarat and Maharashtra,” Mr. Modi said.
He said that 2,000 solar lamps will be provided to help those where power supply has been lost.
Mr. Modi said was briefed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the extent of damage caused by the floods and the suffering that the people were undergoing.
In view of the seriousness of the situation, the Prime Minister had held a crisis review meeting with the Cabinet Secretary and other senior officials.
The Prime Minister said planes bringing relief material to the State would airlift stranded tourists on the way back.
He appreciated the rescue and relief work being done by the Armed Forces and NDRF personnel working in close coordination.
Flood situation grim
The flood situation in Kashmir worsened on Sunday as many parts of Srinagar, including the Army cantonment in Badamibagh, were inundated and vital roads submerged. The embankments of River Jhelum were breached at many places due to rise in water level, submerging areas like Badamibagh, Sonawar, Rajbagh, Kursu, Natipora, Nowgam and old Barzulla, officials said. Water has also seeped into important installations like Civil Secretariat and High Court in the heart of the city, the official said.
They said vital roads including the airport road, Exhibition Crossing, Hari Singh High Street, Lal Chowk and Regal Chowk have also been submerged under several feet of water. Access to main hospitals like SMHS and Lalla Ded has been cut off due to the flooding of the roads.
Thousands of people from water-logged areas have been moved to safer places but many people have been trapped in upper stories of their homes in low-lying areas of the city, the officials said.
Communication system has been disrupted with all almost all private cellular networks out of order. The landline telephone network has also been badly affected.
“We are not able to get information from areas which have been cut off by flood water. Exact extent of deaths and destruction over the past 24 hours is not known,” an official in the Police Control Room said.
Electricity and water supply has remained disrupted in affected areas for the past six days now.
Torrential monsoon rains, which triggered flooding, landslides and house collapses in Jammu and Kashmir, have so far claimed 160 lives in the state.
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