Srinagar: Notwithstanding Election Commission of India’s submission before Supreme Court of India that polls won’t affect flood relief and rehabilitation, Chief Engineer R&B has said that handing over of shelter sheds was ‘interrupted’ by electioneering at many places.
In a compliance report filed before the J&K High Court, the Chief Engineer has also cited shifting of the location or non-identification of sites by respective District Deputy Commissioners (DDCs) as one of the reasons for delay in the handing over of the shelters shed to affected family.
“The delay was caused due to non-availability of the site and also got interrupted because of electioneering in the areas of construction.”
According to the report, the DDCs have projected the total required shelter sheds or prefab structures at 504 units—each of them a one room hutment.
Among them, the report said, 285 units have been taken up for execution by the R&B department and 28 by NGOs. In case of 191 units, the report said, sites have not been identified by the DDCs and have been possibly kept on hold on account of rent policy.
The Chief Engineer said 160 units have been handed over to DDCs as on December 16 while 101 will be completed by December 24.
Similarly 14 and 10 units will be ready for occupation by the flood victims by December 31 and September 9 respectively.
Regarding providing of the rent, Revenue Department separately informed the court that 13619 families have been paid rent as on December 16.
A Division Bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Bansil Lal Bhat in an oral order directed the authorities to provide the shelters sheds as well as the rents to all affected families by December 31.
“People are masters and all official functionaries their servants,” the bench observed and asked Advocate General to serve people to their satisfactions as provided under law.
Chief Engineer R&B and three deputy Commissioners of Pulwama, Anantnag and Shopian were present before the court in compliance to its directions.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by two lawyers—advocates G A Lone and Jehangir Iqbal Ganie.