PM Announces Rs 1000 Cr Grant For Flood Hit J&K

7 September 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced Rs 1000 crores worth Central assistance as first installment of relief taking total amount given to Jammu and Kashmir during past two days to Rs 2100 crores including authorization to utilise Rs 1100 crores State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF). The Prime Minister, who was on a day's visit to Jammu and Kashmir to survey flood affected areas for on spot assessment of situation arising out of worst ever floods in the State, also declared floods as 'national level disaster' and said pain and anguish of the people of the State was that of entire country and the Centre will work along with State Government and the people to rebuild damaged infrastructure and bring life back on rails. Modi even offered India's help in relief and rehabilitation measures in areas of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), which has also witnessed worst rains and flood on humanitarian ground if the neighbouring country required the help. 'In this hour of distress, we are ready for all possible assistance to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and even PoK if the Pakistan Government needs it,' he said in a brief statement made before media persons in Srinagar after aerial survey of flood affected areas and returning to New Delhi. '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 was ready to provide humanitarian assistance to those areas if the Pakistan government needs it,' a PMO statement said. Modi said like in Jammu and Kashmir, the people in PoK region too were bearing losses due to the floods. This is a humanitarian work and India will never lag behind in doing such work, he said. The Prime Minister also called upon other States to also pitch in with relief assistance in whatever way they could. '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,' the PMO statement said. Accompanied by Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, the Prime Minister observed that the Rs 1100 crores which were 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 Central Government to the State for flood relief and rehabilitation. More assistance would be provided, if required, after a proper survey of the situation has been made,' he said. Only yesterday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had authorized State Government to utilise Rs 1100 crores worth funds of SDRF, which have 90 per cent grant from the Centre and 10 per cent from the State. With this, Centre had approved Rs 2100 crores worth assistance to Jammu and Kashmir Government for carrying out rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations for worst ever flood tragedy in the State in past six decades. Modi said the relief of Rs 1000 crores announced by him today is just the first installment and more relief would pour in when assessment of the damage is completed by the State Government. Terming the tragedy as a national level disaster, Modi declared that the Centre stands shoulder to shoulder with the State Government and the people of the State in this hour of crisis. He repeated the stand thrice in his brief seven minutes statement made before the media. After the statement, the Prime Minister left and took no questions from the media persons. Modi announced that boats, which were major requirement of the State Government, have been airlifted from Gujarat and Maharashtra while 5000 tents would be reaching the State very shortly. In addition, he said, he has sanctioned one lakh blankets from Prime Minister's relief quota, which the people in relief and rehabilitation camps would need. 'Though there have been no rains in Ladakh, the Government will have to take it as challenge to ensure immediate restoration of connectivity to mountainous region, where six months stock of all commodities had to be dumped during this period,' Modi said and hoped that the Government will take the challenge seriously and restore supply line to Ladakh for dumping of stock. On trapped tourists in both parts of the regions, Modi announced that the helicopters coming on rescue mission to the State would take back the stranded tourists up to Pathankot. 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 the calamity and Rs 50,000 would be provided to each person who is grievously injured. The funds will be provided from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. Modi said that in order to meet the immediate need of providing shelter to those who have lost their homes, the Centre Government 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 crores will be provided from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund to purchase one 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 tons of milk powder. One consignment of essential medicines is being airlifted today 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,' Modi said, adding that the Army engineers have been asked to help in restoration of damaged connectivity including roads, bridges, culverts etc at the earliest. He said that 2000 solar lamps will be provided to help those where power supply has been snapped due to heavy rains and floods. Modi said he was briefed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the extent of damage caused by the floods in Jammu and Kashmir after his visit to the State yesterday 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. He appreciated the rescue and relief work being done by the Armed Forces and NDRF personnel working in close coordination. He hoped that the sunshine today will give further boost to relief and rescue operations. The Prime Minister conducted aerial survey of various flood ravaged areas of the Kashmir Valley and witnessed huge devastation caused by the rains and floods with several villages submerged and people trapped at various places. However, he lauded the daunting task being performed by Army and India Air Force apart from other agencies in rescuing the people and then providing them relief and rehabilitation. Earlier, the Prime Minister flew to Jammu and reviewed the damage caused by the rains and floods, which have taken over 200 lives in Jammu region alone. He reviewed the flood situation at a high-level meeting attended by Chief Minister and top officials. The Prime Minister had detailed assessment of the situation. Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, MoS in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda, Air Officer Commanding Prashant Patange, Divisional Commissioner Shant Manu and IGP Rajesh Kumar briefed the Prime Minister on the measures being taken to rescue the civilians and aid them in relief and rehabilitation camps. Torrential rains have triggered flooding, landslides and house collapses leaving behind a trail of death and destruction, the Chief Minister said in the meeting. Omar sought more rescue-related initiatives, including commencement of air rescue operations in view of the grim situation in the State. After high level review meeting in which the Prime Minister was apprised of ongoing relief and rehabilitation measures for the flood victims, damage caused to infrastructure, number of casualties (both fatal and nonfatal) and time it could take for partial restoration of connectivity and reaching out to people of all flood and rains affected areas. Modi directed the Army, IAF and administration to leave no stone unturned in reaching out to the flood hit people and ensure that all possible help was provided to them at the earliest. After the review meeting, Modi accompanied by Vohra, Omar and Jitendra Singh flew to Srinagar where they had aerial survey of flood affected areas. The decision on the Prime Minister's visit came following a review meeting which he called after being briefed yesterday by Home Minister Rajnath Singh who returned to the national capital after surveying the flood-affected regions, the Prime Minister's Office had said in a statement. 'After reviewing the situation, the Prime Minister decided to visit Jammu and Kashmir to personally assess the gravity of the situation and understand the problems being faced by the people,' it had said. The Cabinet Secretary and Modi's Principal Secretary were among those who had attended the meeting.