Srinagar: The CPI(M) on Thursday said the primary focus of the Centre and the state government should be providing immediate relief to the flood victims, along with continuing the democratic process in the state.
"The primary focus should be providing immediate relief to the flood victims so that they can survive the coming winter and also on taking measures for their permanent rehabilitation so that they can move on with their lives," CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury told reporters at the conclusion of his three-day visit to the flood-affected areas in the state.
Asked about the timing of Assembly Election due later this year in the state, he said the democratic process should continue.
"How and when? The election commission in consultation with the political parties in the state will decide. I believe that this process is going on but it should not detract from providing relief to the flood victims," he said.
Yechury said his party will raise the issue of rehabilitation of flood victims in Delhi and demand that the centre declare the natural calamity as a national disaster.
"All the provisions of the act pertaining to declaring floods as national disaster should be given to the victims. This is not a favour or charity by the Centre or state governments but the duty and right of the affected people," he said.
The CPI(M) leader said the government should waive off the loans taken by farmers whose crops and land have been destroyed by the flood last month.
He also called for announcing a fee waiver for students as the educational institutions in the valley have remained closed for more than a month.
"The issue of housing and business loans also need to be looked into while efforts need to be made for rejuvenating the tourism sector which has been badly affected by the floods," he said.
Yechury said during his visit to the affected areas, people complained about lack of apathy from both the centre and the state government.
"People complained that the free ration announced for the affected areas has not been provided. They were also demanding tents to survive the weather (winter)," he added.
Yechury said he failed to understand why the two governments have not fulfilled this elementary duty even a month after floods.
He said heaps of garbage were lying on the roads in many flood affected areas which can lead to an outbreak of an epidemic.
"If emergency steps are not taken, the consequences can be disastrous," he said.
Yechury said the Centre needs to feel the suffering of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and take steps in line with its stand of the state being an integral part of the country.
"If it (J&K) is an atoot ang (integral part) then it should be treated as one. If the atoot ang is in pain, it should be felt (by rest of the body). Why is that not happening? The government needs to take steps to restore its credibility," Yechury said.