Srinagar: The devastating floods in more than a century in Jammu and Kashmir have damaged 2,34,516 structures across the state excluding worst hit Srinagar district.
Among the structures include 20000 houses which have been completely destroyed, government divulged before the J&K High Court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by two lawyers—advocates G A Lone and Jahangir Iqbal Ganie.
“Approximately 2,34,516 structures have been damaged, which includes 20,000 completely damaged houses excluding (those in) District Srinagar. Approximately 5411 villages excluding Srinagar District have been affected by the floods,” the government said in reply to the contentions raised in the petition.
In Srinagar district, majority of the areas were badly affected by the floods and it will take some time to arrive at exact figures, it said.
“The damages to houses and other structures would become known only when the submerged areas are fully de-watered. This being so, the (government) is taking every step to assess the loss,” it said, ruling out the demand by the lawyers for formulating a committee for the purpose.
In reply to another contention by the petitioners, it submitted that that stores in commercial complexes and the shops are covered by Insurance policies and the same can be compensated by the respective Insurance companies.
However, it said, despite the insurance cover, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has taken up the matter with Government of India to impress upon all Insurance Companies to expedite the assessment of loss by deputing surveyors at the earliest.
“(Government has) taken every step to get back to normal work by pumping into service hundreds of dewatering pumps so as to drain out the stagnated water”.
“It is only after dewatering the sub-merged areas that it will be possible to assess the actual loss of property,” the government said, assuring that it “will take every step to help the victims in getting due compensation.”
“More than 200 dewatering pumps have been installed at various places to dewater the sub-merged areas round the clock. More pumps are expected to be made operational in the coming days,” it said.
Most of the dewatering pumps of different departments were submerged because of the floods and are being made operational, it said.
“Besides that, Government of India and also some other State Governments have also made available some dewatering pumps available which has been pressed into service.”
It also denied claimed that “effective steps” have been taken “in time” to lift the garbage and its disposal so as to keep the city clean.
“Since the magnitude of flood was huge and the damages extensive, it will take some time to free the city of the garbage and filth. Over 300 Animal carcasses which were found floating in different areas have been removed and disposed. If after the dewatering, any other carcass is found, it will be disposed off scientifically.”
The government also submitted that “effective steps” have been taken to meet out the urgent requirements of affected people in District Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Bandipora.
“The assessment with regard to life and property is being done on war footing basis and steps for rehabilitating the affected people have been initiated.”
As the water has already receded in most of the areas of the South Kashmir, the government said, the assessment with regard to life and property is being prioritized.
“Four senior most officers have been designated as Special Relief Commissioners and deployed one each at Jammu, Bandipora, Anantnag and Central Kashmir to oversee and coordinate relief and rehabilitation operations,” it said.
In addition, one senior most officer has been stationed at Delhi to coordinate with Government of India and to maintain the supply line, it said.
Denying the allegation, the government said it had established 224 relief camps across the state including 137 in Kashmir Valley.
“137 relief camps catering to more than one lakh people in Kashmir Valley and 87 in Jammu division were set up.
“31,000 quintals of rice have been distributed to the affected people free of cost from September 13 to 19.
“14000 LPG cylinders were distributed in various parts of Srinagar. 10,000 litres of kerosene were also distributed by the CAPD department during the corresponding time,” it said.
Ration was distributed through Mohalla committees in initial stages but the same has been taken over by ration depots on the basis of records maintained by the Consumer Affairs and Public Distributions Department, it said.
The government also denied as vague and incorrect the contentions in the PIL that relief material of NGOs and private individual was lying on airports with no effort made to distribute it.
“Two senior officers of the State Government have been deputed as Special Officers and stationed them at Airports to monitor and oversee the relief material arriving at these airports from different quarters and its lifting and proper distribution,” it said, submitting that no relief material of any NGO or Private individual was lying on airports as on date.
“Whatever relief material has been received, it has been lifted from the Airport and dumped at the central office situated at Rambagh which is being looked after by (two officials).”
Most of the government or private hospitals which remained inundated due to heavy floods have been operational, it said.
“Major hospitals including Lal Ded Hospital, SMHS Hospital, Bone & Joint Hospital and G B Panth Hospital remained submerged for about a week and could not function. They have been made operational from Subday (September 22).”