New Delhi recovers pending bills of 2004 from flood relief package

Srinagar: At a time when the Valley is simmering with rage, awaiting the promised flood financial assistance from New Delhi, the high court was informed on Thursday that out of the Rs 1667-crore ‘special flood package’ announced in June this year, Rs 838 crore have been deducted on account of state’s pending liabilities from the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan 2004.
In addition to the Rs 838-crore cut, an additional amount of Rs 59 crore has been deducted on account of the subsidy on additional food grains provided to state during the flood.
This was disclosed by Indian home ministry official Ashok Shukla during the hearing of a PIL on relief and rehabilitation of the flood-hit people.
“Out of the package, Rs 551 crore (is meant for) ex-gratia relief for repair or reconstruction of damaged kaccha houses and 172 crore for tourism sector,” Shukla said in a status report filed by him through assistant solicitor general of India.
Around 2.5 lakh structures including 199,964 houses were damaged by the last year’s floods, one of the worst deluges suffered by the state in more than a century.
Shukla also informed that the Rs 44,000-crore package sought by the previous government was still under finance ministry’s consideration and the Rs 1667-crore package was part of it.
He also stated that a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Indian Home minister approved an assistance of Rs 1602.56 crore to the state from NDRF, “subject to adjustment of 90% balance in State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).”
The amount includes tentative air bills of Rs 500 crore for rescue and relief operations by (Indian army). The committee also approved an assistance of Rs 20 crore from special component of National Rural Drinking Water Programme for repair of damaged drinking water supply.
He also submitted that Rs 765 crore were sanctioned from the Prime Ministers National Relief Fund and included Rs 570 crore for reconstruction of the damages houses, Rs 175 crore for repairs of hospitals and Rs 20 crore for replacing books.
Shukla, the deputy secretary in home ministry, also stated that a joint team led by the Department of Economic Affairs and the World Bank carried out rapid damage and need assessment in February this year and finalized the component as part of the ‘J&K Flood Recovery Project’, which is pegged at USD 250 million.
As per the project, USD 60 million are meant for reconstruction and strengthening of critical infrastructure, USD 80 million for reconstruction of road and bridges, USD 50 million for restoration of Urban Food management infrastructure, USD 15 million for restoration and strengthening of livelihoods, USD 25 million for strengthening of disaster risk management capacity and USD 20 million for implementation support.
He also informed the court that norms f assistance from the SDRF/NDRF for the period of 2015-2020 which was issued on April 8 2015 cannot be applicable to the flood victims of the state.