Declare J&K floods a national calamity: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday pressed for declaring Jammu and Kashmir floods a national calamity and underlined the need for a comprehensive action plan for disaster management.

PTI| Updated: Oct 01, 2014, 22:30 PM IST

Jammu: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday pressed for declaring Jammu and Kashmir floods a national calamity and underlined the need for a comprehensive action plan for disaster management.

The former state Chief Minister said having toured all affected areas, he has a fair assessment of the scale of destruction caused by the floods and that "unqualified support of Central government is necessary for bringing the state out of this morass and despondency."

Calling for "urgent declaration of the situation in the state as a national calamity", Azad said, "The enormity of the challenge warrants a liberal financial package, irrespective of partisan considerations in order to restore broken down infrastructure and rehabilitate the victims."

The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha recalled his conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh and hoped that in keeping with the assurance given by the Centre, a special financial package for reconstruction and rehabilitation will be announced in the best interest of the people of the state.

Azad said, "There is the need to have a comprehensive action plan for disaster management. Jammu & Kashmir's vulnerability to various natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, snowfall is well known and the current natural calamity has only reinforced the need for giving due priority to the subject."

The Congress leader today toured Gool, Gulabgarh and Banihal constituencies of Chenab Valley to take stock of the situation and assess damages caused by the floods. He said people apprised him of the damages and sought adequate compensation.

Urging the people to approach the authorities for proper recording of their damages, Azad asked the administration to carry out assessment of damages with sensitivity, objectivity and fairness so that there is no room left for speculation and misgivings.

Azad also asked Deputy Commissioners to extend assistance to those who have become homeless and underlined the need to make relief distribution more prompt and efficient.

"No doubt the entire state has bore the brunt of this natural disaster and South Kashmir and Srinagar City have been worst hit," he said.

Lamenting the damage to public infrastructure in hilly and upper areas of Gool and Gulabgarh constituencies, Azad said these hilly and remote areas already lagged behind in infrastructural facilities and whatever little was created in recent years has been ravaged.