JK, Centre at loggerheads over flood relief

JK, Centre at loggerheads over flood relief

The financial assistance of Rs 2926.11 was sought by the State in addition to its Rs 41,000 crore special package for rehabilitation of flood victims and restoration of public infrastructure.

A flood relief proposal has brought the Jammu and Kashmir government and Centre at loggerheads with each other, with state babus Tuesday resenting the latter’s move to slash the financial assistance sought by the former.

Informed sources told Greater Kashmir that bureaucrats, representing the state at a high-level meeting in Jammu, expressed their resentment over the Government of India’s move to sanction the flood relief of Rs 1120 crore as against Rs 2926.11 crore projected by the State under the norms governing the State Disaster Response Fund and the National Disaster Response Fund. 

The financial assistance of Rs 2926.11 was sought by the State in addition to its Rs 41,000 crore special package for rehabilitation of flood victims and restoration of public infrastructure.

Sources said the issue came up for discussion in the meeting chaired by Governor NN Vohra in Jammu which was attended by the Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami and state’s senior bureaucrats.

During the meeting, the sources said, the administrative secretaries present justified the projections made by them for financial assistance from the Centre. 

“Post floods, we temporarily restored some infrastructure as per the guidelines laid down by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. We were told to go-ahead with the restoration work in the middle of floods. Now where from shall we manage the resources to clear the liabilities on account of the works executed so far?” a senior bureaucrat, according to sources, told the Union Home Secretary.

Another senior bureaucrat said they have no choice but to divert “salaries of employees for managing finances spent on restoration of infrastructure” if the Centre “doesn’t intervene and grant the financial assistance in toto.”

“The Government of India should release these funds in full as the state is passing through grave financial crisis,” he told Goswami.

Governer NN Vohra and Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khanday also strongly pressed for funds from the Centre for restoration of infrastructure in the State, the sources disclosed.

It has been reliably that the MHA has sliced projections made by the state on account of temporary restoration of infrastructure in Roads & Buildings, Public Health Engineering, Power Development and other departments.

On January 30, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that Rs. 1120 crore has been sanctioned from the National Disaster Response Fund to meet expenditures incurred by the State Government for immediate restoration of public infrastructure. He also said Rs.634.99 crore has been already spent to provide immediate rehabilitation in the wake of floods.