Bracing for the next deluge

Governor N N Vohra has met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed with him the implementation of Rs 80,000 crore package.

Governor N N Vohra has met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed with him the implementation of Rs 80,000 crore package. Vohra has briefed Singh about the steps being taken for the implementation of the five components of the package: humanitarian relief, disaster management, social infrastructure, economic infrastructure and developmental spending. It is heartening to know that the state government is taking some conspicuous steps towards the implementation of the package, more so, its humanitarian relief component. In recent past around Rs 50 crore have been disbursed to the traders in Kashmir as relief. Srinagar tops the list with Rs.27.53 crore distributed to 10,467 beneficiaries. However, the dredging of Jhelum and its spill channels which is so important to reduce the chances of a future flood is still behind the target. Under the Prime Minister's Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programme  which includes a Comprehensive Plan for Flood Management Works on Jhelum, around Rs 400 crore has recently been sanctioned by the Centre. Governor has approached Uma Bharti, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and requested urgent release of funds for the dredging of Jhelum and its outflow channels.  It is important that the dredging of the river is done. More so, when  the rainy season is upon us. Last year, Valley narrowly escaped flood several times. As of now, two days of incessant rain is sufficient to drown parts of Kashmir including Srinagar. Having said that, the relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims and the reconstruction of the flood damaged infrastructure has been inordinately delayed. Funds for the purpose are being released in staggered small instalments which is hampering the continuity in the work. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the development package in Srinagar on November 7, fourteen months after the unprecedented flood drowned Srinagar and the parts of South and Kashmir including some areas in Jammu. But even since then,  little has changed on the ground. In recent weeks, some progress on distribution of relief has been evident. One expects the government to also work towards reconstruction of the infrastructure and the further deepening of Jhelum and the other spill channels to build our defences against  an eminently possible future flood.

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