Even A Year After Floods, Jammu And Kashmir Disaster Force Still Without Boats

29 August 2015
India Today
Naseer Ganai

Srinagar: A year after the floods devastated the Kashmir valley, the government's State Disaster Response Force (SDRF)-considered as the first line of defense during earthquake and floods-does not have a single boat of its own. A senior official of the SDRF said the SDRF needs at least 30 boats costing upto Rs 2 lakh each, just for Srinagar alone that has a population of around 16 lakh. 'We do not have a single boat of our own. We have three boats but we got them from different sources during the floods last year and they are in very bad conditions,' said the official. In 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir government created the SDRF by converting two battalions of Auxiliary police into the Jammu and Kashmir State Disaster Response Force. It is the first line of defence during disasters and it has jurisdiction throughout the state. However, when Srinagar was devasted by the floods last year, boats Jammu and Kashmir was devastated by floods last year. were not available with the SDRF to rescue the people. The situation has not changed so far. Officials said that considering last year's crisis, it was expected that the government would provide more number of boats to the SDRF to meet any eventuality. But, because the government has not done anything to upgrade machinery or added man power to the SDRF, the officials are at a loss. The J&K government had submitted a proposal to the central government seeking a special financial package of '44,000 crore for the rehabilitation of flood affected people. So far the Centre has not responded.