New Delhi: Eminent writers, historians, scientists, journalists and civil society workers on Tuesday came forward to show their solidarity with the people Jammu and Kashmir battling the worst floods in the state's history.
At a discussion here, they called for prompt rehabilitation of the affected people and asked the authorities to speed up the relief and rescue work.
"We could not stop the floods but we could have certainly mitigated the damage to a very large extent. They were not flash floods. With modern technology, we could have predicted the water levels and gave concrete alerts to people," said Saleem Baig, Convener, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), J&K chapter.
Baig rejected reports of selective rescue operations and said "it is not the time to look at such developments. We should not converge long-standing political problems with something that is immediate and requires prompt action."
Iftikar Gilani, senior journalist who had reported extensively about the state, pointed to loopholes in rescue operations and suggested a few solutions to streamline the operations in the valley.
"There is a dire need for more water pumps, water purification units and a team of pediatricians in the valley. Many Air India flights are unable to lift relief materials from major airports. The material is lying unclaimed at airports in Pune, Bangalore and Calcutta.
"Just 80 boats have been allotted for the rescue operations, against the requirement of 650. We need to also look at the kind of relief materials that the victims are in need of," said the journalist at the event at the Press Club of India here.