Modi's Visit Last Ray Of Hope For Flood-hit

4 November 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Rifat Mohidin

Srinagar: Just 800 metres away from the Sher-i-Kashmir Park, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to address Kashmir on November 7, Nayeema Akhter is watching her house, which was washed away by the floods in September last year, slowly coming into shape. Though the 57-year-old has no plans to attend PM's rally, she is eager to hear about the rehabilitation of the flood-hit from Narendra Modi. 'We have been waiting for the last one year for the complete rehabilitation. Our last hope rests with the PM. I hope he will understand our problems. Winter has already set in and we are still struggling to return to our homes. We have no resources. We lost everything to the floods,' said a disappointed Nayeema, a resident of Jawahar Nagar where hundreds of families were rendered homeless on the dawn of September 7 last year. More than 12 months have passed since the devastating floods hit Kashmir, but the state government continues to pass the buck with the Centre yet to take a call on the proposed Rs 44,000-crore relief package. People like Nayeema who have not been able to construct their houses in the past 13 months are optimistic about the Prime Minister visit. The initial assessment report prepared by the state government, which had provided a break-up of the colossal destruction, stated that 83,044 concrete houses were fully damaged in the deluge while 96,089 suffered partial damage. 'The PM's visit has given us a hope that our grievances will be addressed,' said Shahid Ahmad. The previous National Conference-Congress government had sought financial package of Rs 44,000 crore from the Central government for rehabilitation of flood-hit and restoration of damaged infrastructure. The Central government has so far provided Rs 5,039 crore to the state in several instalments for short-term relief and reconstruction measures. As the winter has already set in the Valley, it is getting difficult for many of the flood-hit families to return to their homes in the absence of proper help from the government. Though the government has provided interim relief the affected, the promise of proper rehabilitation is yet to be fulfilled. 'The initial relief was not even enough to construct a single room, leave apart building an entire house. We know the government is not in a position to compensate for all the losses, but at least they must help us to return to our homes,' said Khalid Ahmad, a flood victim from the Nowgam locality. The flood-victims here are attaching a lot of importance to the Modi's visit. 'If they don't announce the relief package now, then this wait is going to be unending' said Ahmad.