Junaid Nabi Bazaz
Srinagar: The Cabinet Sub-Committee (CSS) formed to rehabilitate victims of last year’s floods announced on Sunday that the government will initiate relief distribution process for the flood-hit within 45 days.
The 6-member CSC led by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh held meetings with representatives of various trade bodies and civil society members here.
During the meeting, representatives of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) demanded Rs 10 lakh compensation for affected traders, weavers on taxes and bank loans for ten years, time bound insurance settlement of insurance cases, quick building permission and single window clearance system for clearance.
“The main source to the state revenue comes from taxes, which is mainly paid by the business community. We demanded waiving off taxes so that we can start our business again,” Mohammad Yasin Khan, KTMF president told Kashmir Reader.
According to estimates, around 33,000 traders were hit by the September floods while 90,000 houses were damaged in the Valley. A package of Rs 44,000 crore was proposed by previous Omar Abdullah government to New Delhi.
Shakeel Qalander, a member of Kashmir Centre for Social and Developmental Studies (KSCDS) demanded a probe to know the reasons for the floods.
“I urged them to set up a committee that will ascertain the factors responsible for devastating floods, and reconstruction of damaged houses, sanitisation of flood-affected schools and government institutions,” Qalander said.
He also told the committee members to initiate compensation as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, according to an official spokesman, the Deputy Chief Minister told the delegations that the government is aware of the difficulties faced by the people and is keen for their speedy rehabilitation and revival of the business sector, which took a battering during the Valley’s worst floods in recent times.
Singh said the aim of constituting CSC by the PDP-BJP coalition government is to provide succour to the flood-affected people of Valley, besides to rejuvenate and review the economic condition of the State.
“The Deputy Chief Minister assured all the stakeholders that government is with the people and no stone will be left unturned for upliftment of socio-economic conditions of the people. He said the government is serious and responsive towards the sufferings of the people who have suffered immense damages during the September deluge.
“The Deputy Chief Minister asked the administration to expedite the re-verification process and remove anomalies in assessment of the damages caused due to floods. He said the government will initiate the relief distribution process for the flood affected within 45 days. He also informed that the government has taken up allotment of funds for rehabilitation of the flood victims with World Bank,” the spokesman said.
Dr. Singh said the Ministry of Relief and Rehabilitation will work as nodal agency for relief and rehabilitation process. During the meeting, the revenue authorities were asked to furnish the bank account details of the flood victims before the government of India at the earliest.
The deputations which met the CSC and put forth their demands before it include KTMF, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, All Kashmir Tour Operators, Kashmir Hotel & Restaurant Association, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Jammu & Kashmir Private School & Coaching Centre Association, civil society members, Tourist Taxi Association, Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Mini Bus Association, House Boat Association, various representatives of Transport Agencies and orchardists besides other deputations.
Later, CSC members also interacted with the Divisional Administration of Kashmir Valley and held detailed deliberations on the relief and rehabilitation process underway for the flood affected families.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Rohit Kansal, Commissioner/Secretary Revenue, Vinod Koul, IGP Kashmir, A.G. Mir, all Deputy Commissioners of Valley, besides all Heads of Departments, all Chief Engineers of various Engineering departments were present on the occasion.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir apprised the CSC that relief to the tune of Rs. 183.71 crore have been disbursed among the flood affected families, which include Rs. 163.84 crore among the families whose houses were damaged, Rs. 3.69 crore was disbursed among the next of kins of the deceased families. Besides, Rs. 1.98 crore has been disbursed among the injured persons while Rs. 16.15 crore was provided as rent.
The members of CSC included Minister for Health & Medical Education, ARI & Trainings, Lal Singh, Minister for Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs & Relief & Rehabilitation, Bashrat Bukhari, Minister for Public Health Engineering, Irrigation & Flood Control, Sukhnandan Kumar, Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari and Minister for Information Technology, Technical Education and Youth Services & Sports Imran Raza Ansari.