Jammu and Kashmir is primarily a difficult terrain area. Most parts of the state, be it in the Kashmir, Jammu or the Ladakh region, are predominantly inaccessible through a network of manageable and well maintained roads.
The rural areas in the state are far more worse in terms of connectivity. Even in case of any emergency like dealing with a disaster like situation because of a natural calamity or otherwise, rescue and relief measures take a big hit.
The same was witnessed on Friday when eight people including four of a family were killed and 11 others sustained injuries in the flash floods triggered by cloudbursts at two places in Doda and Kishtwar districts. The natural calamity damaged several houses, shops and an educational institution besides washing away almost half a dozen vehicles.
It all happened when a cloudburst took place in the upper reaches at around 1.30 last night triggering flash floods in a nullah flowing through the Thathri town. Even Kahara area witnessed flash floods and rolling down of huge boulders from the slopes because of cloudburst. However, the flash floods wrecked havoc only in Thathri area as there is no population in the affected parts of Kahara.
While people were sleeping huge boulders and mudslides started flowing in nullah at Thathri causing extensive damages to those structures which were situated on its banks. One house got completely filled with mudslides and gushing waters thereby killing six persons including four of a family, who could not judge what was happening outside the walls of their house.
Though five more houses too came in the spate of flash floods and suffered damages but their occupants managed to save their lives by either rushing out of their houses or moving to upper portions of their houses.
What generates our interest that the rescue and relief operation was started by the locals themselves and later the local police officials too joined in and tried to salvage whatever little they could with the resources and manpower they had available with them.
All this once again points out to the failure and unresponsive attitude of the state government in establishing a well thought out disaster management plan and expanding the network of the disaster management teams across the state.
The little and the much publicized disaster management authority established by the government has yet another proved to be a big hoax and the incident proved that the authority is yet again turning out to be another government institution that is nothing but a white elephant being managed on the tax payers money by the state machinery.
Even the report of the CAG on the performance of the State Disaster Management Authority is a horrible indictment of the Authority one would be shocked to know. The report speaks off nepotism, open, hidden and semi-transparent without the exception of a single area of its activity.
Illegal diversion of funds, utilization of funds in illegal expenditures, misappropriation of funds, theft of tents, blankets, relief material meant for flood sufferers, fake list of victims to whom relief money has gone, in short take whatever aspect of the Authority you may, there is fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and general loot of Government funds.
Good deal of money passed on to Divisional or District Commissioners for various relief and developmental work remain unutilized in their departmental bank accounts and nobody has cared to make use of these funds for the purpose for which these have been provided.
The broad inference one may draw from this sordid and anti-people functioning of the State Disaster Management Authority stems from two things; one is absence of regular monitoring of its administration and the second is that each functionary is busy with innovating ways and means of embezzling the funding by finding expenditure heads that would yield as little an information on expenditures as is possible.
This brazen and open theft by the authority should have got the government’s response but alas, the government functionaries have no time to sort these important issues out.