Windstorm affected storm ‘Govt lies’ on compensation

NATURAL CALAMITY HAD KILLED 5 PERSONS, DAMAGED 30,000 STRUCTURES

IMRAN MUZAFFAR

Srinagar, Oct 24: Eight months after a ravaging windstorm hit Kashmir killing five persons and damaging hundreds of buildings, the Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to reach out to the affected families, not to talk of compensating them.
 The state government had in March this year claimed that as many as 15,000 buildings were damaged in the windstorm. But documents accessed by this newspaper reveal that around 30,000 buildings—residential, non-residential and other structures—had actually got damaged in the natural calamity that hit the Valley on March 19. The official data also reveals 31 persons were injured in the windstorm.
 In the wake of complaints from different towns and villages on the government’s failure to compensate the affected, Greater Kashmir visited some of the places and talked to people on the issue. 
 The affected families said they did not receive a single penny from the district administrations. “The government is yet to reach out to the people in far-off areas to access the damage,” they said.
 Despite applying for the relief, the district administration is not granting the same despite claiming to have granted it at many places. “We belong to the main town of Bandipora, yet nobody is listening to us. So you can imagine the fate of people in far-flung areas. The government never reached out to them,” said Ghulam Qadir, a retired government employee.
 The affected families said it was difficult for them to rebuild the houses on their own. “The state government had announced that it will take stock of the damages and provide relief but there is no response from the authorities till date. We cannot rebuild the damaged houses on our own,” Abdul Rasheed, a resident of Baramulla said.
 Similar is the situation in Ganderbal, Islamabad and Kupwara districts where the affected families said they did not receive any relief even after eight months of the calamity. 
 While the houses in Srinagar areas of Habba Kadal, Fateh Kadal, Khanaqah-e-Moula, Mahraj Gunj, Saraf Kadal, Aali Kadal, Lal Bazaar, Hazratbal, Soura, Gaw Kadal, Brein Nishat, Harwan and Dara had sustained severe damage, the districts of Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, Islamabad (Anantnag), Budgam, Ganderbal and Kulgam had reported maximum loss of property in the windstorm.
 In South Kashmir district of Kulgam 3428 buildings were damaged including 17 religious places and 15 schools, the official documents reveal.
 In north Kashmir’s Baramulla district 2452 buildings were damaged including 22 religious places and 14 schools. The windstorm had killed one person and injured eight others from the district.
 At least 4530 buildings including 45 religious places, four schools and 118 houseboats were damaged in Srinagar.
 In central Kashmir’s Budgam district, 4355 buildings including seven religious places were damaged. At least 11 persons were injured there.
 In south Kashmir’s Pulwama district 679 buildings were damaged, four injured and one killed while at least 1317 structures—residential, non-residential and other— were damaged in Shopian district.
 In (Anantnag) Islamabad district 3007 buildings were damaged while six people were injured and one killed.
 In frontier Kupwara 1501 buildings were damaged and two injured while in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district 3063 buildings were damaged. In Ganderbal district two persons died while 2745 buildings were damaged, the official documents reveal.
 Three months back the Divisional Commissioner’s office had sent a requisition of Rs 11 crores to the Ministry of Revenue and Relief to compensate the affected families. Of this, Rs five crore was ‘released’ for the victims through the concerned district administrations. The Ministry is yet to release the pending amount.
 While officials claim to have disturbed the amount, the ground situation belies the claims.
 Despite repeated attempts, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and Minister for Revenue and Relief Raman Bhalla could not be contacted for comments.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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