Where is flood package, asks KEA

Junad Nabi Bazaz

SRINAGAR: Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), a conglomeration of 13 business organizations, said on Saturdaythat it will hold a protest in New Delhi if the government of India fails to release within 21 days the Rs 44,000 crore the state government has sought for post-flood reconstruction.
KEA chairman Showkat Choudhary told a press conference that New Delhi has not fulfilled a single promise it made with the alliance since the floods hit Kashmir in September last year.
“Prime Minister Modi made promise us that the money will be released. Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed made the same promise on the four occasions I met him. Similarly, Arun Jaitely and a cabinet sub-committee promised us the same. But nothing came out of these promises,” Choudhary Said.
“I have lost faith in both the state government and New Delhi. Now, we only want to expose them,” he added.
Choudhary asked Mufti and Modi to clearly state whether they want to release this amount or not.
He recalled that at a meeting, Modi had told him that soft loans will be given to the affected business community but “the promise is still gathering the dust”.
After the floods, the NC-Congress coalition government had submitted a proposal of Rs 44,000 crore to the Indian government for the economic reconstruction of the Kashmir Valley. New Delhi has not made it clear whether it has accepted this proposal or not. In March, Mufti government had announced that relief will be released within 45 days.
President JK Goods Transport Association Mohammad Sidiq Ronga, who also addressed the press conference, said banks in the state had played “anti-people role”.
“Banks did not give us any kind of relief. Businessmen who have taken loan are being charged interests irrespective of their financial state. We asked them to give us a waiver for a year. Banks every year claim that they earn huge profits. What will happen to them if they earn less for a year?” Ronga asked.
President Kashmir Traders Federation Farook Jan termed New Delhi’s indifference towards economic reconstruction as a “drama” and called the relief money distributed by Mufti recently as an insult to injury.
“How can Rs 25,000 or Rs 50,000 compensate traders who have suffered losses worth lakhs of rupees. Their indifference has further ruined our businesses and it seems the government doesn’t care about us,” Farook said.
Chairman Houseboat Owners’ Association M Yousuf Chapri said the loss suffered by houseboat wallas and shikara wallas is yet to be compensated.