Digvijaya, Azad Praise Modi's Prompt Action

8 September 2014

New Delhi: Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad today lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his 'prompt action' and 'quick response' in dealing with the massive flood crisis in Jammu and Kashmir. 'Commend the rescue by DMRF, Army, Police and Security Forces in J&K and also GOI and PM for prompt action and reaching out to people in PoK,' Congress general secretary Digivijaya Singh, a known detractor of Modi, said on Twitter. Talking to PTI, Azad, who had spoken to Modi on the matter on Saturday, said, 'I had spoken to the Prime Minister. I am very happy with his response. 'He (Modi) was very quick to visit the state and announce a package of Rs 1,000 crore.' Modi announced the special assistance package for J-K after undertaking a day-long visit to the state yesterday to review the situation in the flood-affected areas there. Azad, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and a former J-K chief minister, said he hoped the Centre would continue to support the relief and rehabilitation measures with unwavering enthusiasm. He said that the relief package was welcome but, given the scale of the devastation, the state would require many thousands of crores of rupees for the reconstruction of the infrastructure which has been destroyed in the flood. 'I am sure the initial response by the Prime Minister to the flood situation will continue to hold. I hope, trust and believe in that. 'We expect the Prime Minister's support will continue with the same enthusiasm,' said Azad. He said that whatever infrastructure was created in the state over a period of 18 years since the 1996 elections - which had brought an end to the long spell of Governor's Rule in J-K - seems to have been totally destroyed in the floods. 7.55 pm: Army to intensify rescue ops as weather improves With improvement in weather conditions, the Army will intensify its rescue operation in flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir while focusing first on Srinagar city and South Kashmir where a large number of people remain trapped in their houses without any basic amenities. Noting that the troops were facing several challenges in the operation 'Megh Rahat', Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda today said they were trying to reach the people who were in the most precarious conditions as quickly as possible though they have received thousands of messages seeking help. Talking to reporters at Udhampur-based headquarters, Hooda said that situation in Jammu was limping back to normalcy and roads leading to other areas around Jammu would be restored within next 48 hours. 'As I said for the next 48 hours, our focus remains on Srinagar and South Kashmir because there are still large number of people who are stranded and who are without any food and water. 'It's our idea to get them out as soon as possible. We will continue operation Megh Rahat till every one is pulled out of this situation,' he said. He also said that army has taken up repair of border fencing damaged in the worst floods in six decades as it apprehends that militants might take advantage of the situation to infiltrate into the state. 'They (militants) may come. So we have strengthened Army's presence in these areas. The repair work has immediately begun. We will do it very quickly,' he said. 6.57 pm: Roads, telephone networks to be restored in 3 to 5 days, say govt officials A 10-member team of central government officials, headed by Joint Secretary (Disaster Management) in the Union Home Ministry G V V Sarma, is camping in Srinagar and coordinating rescue and relief operations with all concerned. A Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry will join the central team tonight while a Joint Secretary from the Department of Expenditure (Union Ministry of Finance) and another Joint Secretary from the Planning Commission will reach Srinagar tomorrow to offer help and coordination to those involve in flood relief operations. Government is also making effort for the restoration of the power connection in Kashmir valley and deploying people for the task. Though there is no scarcity of petrol and diesel so far, at least 50 pumps - out of 78 pumps in the valley - are under flood water. The authorities are also planning to deploy heavy duty pumps to drain out flood water in some of the low lying areas in Srinagar city. The official said that air connectivity to Srinagar and Jammu are normal while train lines up to Udhampur is expected to be operationalised by this evening and up to Katra by tomorrow. Army, Air Force, NDRF and state agencies have so far rescued more than 25,000 people and lodged them in higher places in the valley. Out of 150 people who lost their lives in the floods in the state, 130 are from Jammu while the rest belong to Kashmir valley. 'More deaths in Jammu region because of flash floods and landslides. In Vally, water level rises slowly hence there are less casualties,' the official said. 6.15 pm: Residents huddle on rooftops to survive Desperate residents were huddled on rooftops Monday as they tried to survive Kashmir's worst flooding in half a century which has already claimed more than 150 lives and left thousands homeless, reported AFP. With all phone lines down in the main city of Srinagar and roads cut off, the exact scale of the disaster is still unclear but video footage shot from army helicopters showed entire villages completely under water. Residents could be seen waving from rooftops while vehicles and livestock were washed away by the flood waters. Disaster officials say some 350 villages have been submerged since torrential monsoon rains triggered flooding and landslides across the picturesque Himalayan region. Thousands of troops, police and other emergency personnel, backed by helicopters and boats, have fanned out across the Kashmir Valley and the rest of the state to deliver blankets, tents and other aid in an attempt to minimise casualties, the officials said. 5.47 pm: Jayalalithaa announces Rs 5 cr assistance Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today announced an assistance of Rs five crore to flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir and offered to extend any other assistance required. Describing the destruction caused by flood fury in the state as a 'colossal tragedy', she observed that the unprecedented floods and landslides had caused extensive damage to property, besides taking a heavy toll of lives. 'The State of Jammu and Kashmir is faced with the arduous task of ensuring immediate rescue, relief, and rehabilitation measures for the flood ravaged areas and reconstruction of the devastated areas in the coming days. 'As a token of the support and solidarity of the Government and people of Tamil Nadu with the Government and people of Jammu & Kashmir in their hour of need, I have ordered the immediate contribution of a sum of Rs 5 crores from the Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund,' she said in a statement. The Chief Minister expressed her heartfelt condolences to the families of persons killed in the tragedy and said that 'the Government of Tamil Nadu stands ready to render any other assistance as may be required by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir.' 2:00 pm: Won't return to bases till every last man taken to safety, says Army chief In a strongly worded mission statement, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh has said the Indian Army will not move back to the barracks till the last man is brought to safety.