PM’s package offers little for rehabilitation: Kashmir Inc

PM’s package offers little for rehabilitation: Kashmir Inc

Unimpressed by the Prime Minister’s Rs 80,000 crore financial package, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry Monday said the package has failed to address the issue of rehabilitation of the flood-hit people of Kashmir.

Unimpressed by the Prime Minister's Rs 80,000 crore financial package, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry Monday said the package has failed to address the issue of rehabilitation of the flood-hit people of Kashmir.

The chamber said against demand of Rs 37,000 crore for rehabilitation of flood-hit people, the central government has announced just Rs 7,854 crore.

Coming down heavily on the state government for "failing to persuade the central government to rehabilitate flood victims," the chamber president Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said that JK government is trying to hoodwink people "by juggling figures and passing normal allocation of funds to the state as a special package from PM which is to be utilized in next 5-years."

Giving details, President, KCCI, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said the PM's package has nothing to offer to Kashmir's battered economy.

"We reject this package which the state government is rejoicing upon. This package is an eyewash! Most of the allocations for various sectors under this package had already been made by this government and by the previous UPA government."

Addressing the mediapersons here, Wani said "The money earmarked for flood relief and reconstruction including flood management is mere Rs 7,854 crore as against Rs 37,000 crore demanded by the state government  for losses suffered due to deluge."

He said the flood management is estimated to involve a separate expense of over Rs 30,000 crore for enhancing the carrying capacity of the existing flood channels, digging  alternate flood channels  and dredging of river Jhelum and tributaries, etc.

"Major chunk of this package would be spent by national agencies or their subsidiaries," he said.

The KCCI president said: "The major share of this package i.e. Rs 42,611 crore is exclusively for Roads and National Highway Projects. The money will go to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and not to the state government," he added.

"Similarly, Rs 5,263 crore have been earmarked for rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrant families, families from Chhamb and PaK and for creation of India Reserve Battalions," he said, adding that government has already earmarked smart cities across the country.

The KCCI president said the Centre had ignored the relief and rehabilitation of the flood-affected people in the package.

"The details of the package funds suggest that the Central Government has ignored the requirement of funds essential for relief and rehabilitation of the people who suffered enormous losses in September 2014", Wani said.

Wani said that KCCI will consult other stakeholders and come up with a plan to fight for the rehabilitation of flood affected.

While speaking on the occasion, Secretary General KCCI, Faiz Bakshi accused the central government of "adopting step-motherly treatment" towards Kashmir.

"It is irony that even after passing of 17 months since floods hit Kashmir, centre government has failed to address the problems of Kashmiris," Bakshi said adding that the same government is ready to dole out huge packages to other places where natural calamities in the past have struck.

"Despite the Annual Disaster Statistical Review which has termed the Kashmir floods as costliest floods in which estimated losses were pegged at more than 1 lakh crore, the centre government so far has  provided only Rs 1,667 crore for relief to the affected people who have suffered and out of the Rs 1667 crore around Rs. 800 crore were paid to settle the bills of Ministry of Defence on account of rescue operations carried out by the air force," he added.

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