Srinagar: As Jammu and Kashmir is reeling under the impact of the worst floods in nearly six decades, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Friday that the immediate focus of the state government will be to rescue the affected people in the region.
“Grappling with the spread of challenge, our immediate focus is rescuing people affected by floods,” Omar told reporters here.
When asked that whether he has received any letter from Home Minister Rajnath Singh to identify land for rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, Omar said, “Letter hasn’t reached me yet, trying to save people as of now, issue of land can be spoken of later.”
He further said, “In poor taste that letter is serving as distraction, discussion can wait couple of weeks.”
“I wish letter would have reached me 1st rather than reaching the media first,” Omar added.
Leading from the front, Omar Abdullah was in flood-hit areas of Srinagar during yesterday night, his efforts resulting in the rescue of a 3-month-old baby in Barzulla area.
Omar personally supervised relief and rescue operations here giving directions to officers in all flood-hit districts through video conference.
As night, he personally went out to help people in the worst affected areas including Barazulla where the Bone and Joint hospital has been inundated. He monitored shifting of patients from the ground floor to higher floors before the army arrived to lend a hand.
At one point, the Chief Minister saw a woman refusing to leave her house which was fast getting filled with flood waters. On enquiring, she told Omar that her three-month old baby was sleeping upstairs and she was trying to reach there.
However, the Chief Minister pulled out the woman along with her husband and instructed the officials including his personal security personnel to secure the child from the second floor.
Eyewitnesses said Omar was seen personally extending his hand in ensuring that no harm was caused to the child.
The baby was handed over to the mother after the rescue operation and the people, braving the incessant rains, were seen clapping for the brave effort of the officials led by none other than the Chief Minister.
Omar, while supervising rescue operations in other flood-hit areas, saw four people trapped inside a car which was on the verge of being washed away because of huge gush of water because of a cloudburst in Dhood Ganga area.
Rescue efforts were launched immediately and all the four occupants were saved.
The Chief Minister was on ground till 3 AM personally directing the rescue teams in giving a helping hand to people.
Omar resumed his efforts this morning by visiting South Kashmir area which has been badly affected because of heavy rains that have lashed the state.
Besides pressing the army into rescue operations, the Chief Minister asked the Indian Air Force(IAF) to keep its helicopters in readiness to deal with any emergency.
The Chief Minister has sanctioned Rs 20 crores to meet the emergency expenditure on account of rescue and relief operation in the state.
21 more people were today killed in the devastating floods that have hit Jammu and Kashmir, taking the toll to 46 since Wednesday.
17 deaths were today reported from Jammu region, including 10 in a house collapse incident in Rajouri, apart from recovery of five bodies from yesterday's bus mishap in which 50 members of marriage party were washed away in Rajouri district, officials said.
Four people were today washed away in Kashmir, taking the toll to 10 in the Valley. Three persons were washed away by strong currents in Sukhnaq Nalla in central Kashmir Budgam district while another youth was drowned in Vishnu Nalla in south Kashmir Kulgam district, police said.