NC MLA’s friend prevented dewatering of deluged Rajbagh, says SC panel report

Srinagar: A close friend of ruling National Conference leader and former minister Nasir Aslam Wani had shut down a dewatering shed in Rajbagh here, the area worst hit by floods of September 7, preventing any attempt to dewater the deluged colony.
This has been disclosed in a report prepared by a Supreme Court appointed panel that visited Kursoo, Rajbagh and interacted with the locals. Kashmir High Court Bar Association president, advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom, who is also one of the panel members, says in the report quoting locals that there was a dewatering shed in the locality where there was a pump functional for the last 50 years.
“But one Munir Ahmad, a close friend of Nasir Aslam Wani, MLA, Amira Kadal constituency, has closed the shed and has not allowed any kind of dewatering of floodwater from the area,” the locals said. The report does not say why the “minister’s friend’ shut down the dewatering shed.
The locals have also alleged that Wani’s friend has constructed a house on the state land in the area. “The accused has claimed that he has paid Rs 18 lakh to (Wani) for this favour,” the locals said. [Wani did not respond to repeated calls from Kashmir Reader for his comment].
The report also says that though the army and CRPF rescued some people from Rajbagh during the floods, but they did so selectively. “Around 300 outsiders were rescued by the army from Akash Institute and Kaisar Hotel,” it says quoting the locals.
Also, a Head of Department from SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), a resident of Uttar Pradesh who was living in Kursu, Rajbagh in a rented accommodation, was rescued by the army in a chopper, “but no such help was given to the people in the locality.”
The report based on testimonies, also highlights administrative failure in post-flood situation. It says that none from the Health Department went to the area, nor was any medical camp established there.
“They (locals) said that volunteers of Jama’at-i-Islami came and started (fumigation). A pump has been established by some Pune people for drinking water,” the report says.
The locals said that villagers from far of places, including Sopore, Budgam and Bandipora, visited Kursoo, Rajbagh, which houses around 1800 families, and provided help to them.
“On September 14, army and CRPF came to our help because earlier there was no approach to the locality as the bund had breached at four places. Some people were rescued by the army, and those who could not be rescued remained in their houses till water receded,” the report quotes locals as saying.
Besides advocate Mian Qayoom, the panel included Suresh Kumar Sharma (Registrar General J&K High Court), M K Bhardwaj (president Bar Association Jammu), Sanjay Aggarwal (Director Disaster Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi) and Vinod Kaul (Secretary J&K Revenue Relief and Rehabilitation).
The report prepared by the panel members has been submitted to the Supreme Court.

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