J&K floods: Ration supplies to reach all places in Srinagar in 36 hours, says Omar Abdullah

Ration supplies will reach all places of Srinagar within 36 hours, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Saturday while noting that his government was addressing a multitude of challenges to ensure quick relief to all hit by the unprecedented flood.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 13, 2014, 23:11 PM IST

Srinagar: Ration supplies will reach all places of Srinagar within 36 hours, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Saturday while noting that his government was addressing a multitude of challenges to ensure quick relief to all hit by the unprecedented flood.

"There is anger (among people). This cannot be denied. We may not have been able to reach all places but there are many areas which we covered today," he told reporters when referred to unhappiness among the people of provision of relief.

"Over 50 truckloads of ration has been distributed today? We hope that in the next 36 hours, we will be able to reach all places of the city with ration," Omar said after taking stock of the relief operations at a meeting here which was also attended by Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami who has been camping here since Thursday.

He emphasized the government was in the process of making available ration to as many people as it can.

Omar said ration, including rice and wheat, is now available in thousands of tonnes as access has been made to the valley's biggest godown, which had been inaccessible so far.

The process of distributing this has started and by tomorrow this will reach the city, he said, adding 50 truck loads of ration was distributed today and it will be increased tomorrow.

On the extent of damage, Omar said it will be known only when the floodwater recedes.

"The water level has come down from danger mark. We have started using pumps, medium-duty pumps, to remove water," he said.

"We are doing multiple things, reaching people with rations by boats, rescuing the marooned people, delivering ration supplies by trucks," said the Chief Minister.

Omar said the administration till now had problem that the

quantity of ration needed was not available and the kind of food made available was of no use.

"Nobody here eats 'sattu' but loads of it were sent here. We have used this in different way," he said citing an example.

Talking about problems being faced by his government, he said "we have multiple challenges, shortage of trucks, diesel, ration. These are being addressed gradually. We have trucks but no diesel. Diesel trucks are being sent from Jammu and once the fuel is available, we can step up distribution of ration."

On what kind of relief material is required, he said the state government has food supplies. "What we need is ready packets of supplies — if 10 kgs of rice, two kgs of dal, a litre of oil, salt, masala, a packet of tea, some dry milk power and sugar — is packed together, it will be easier for us to distribute rather than distribute these items separately,? he said.

"If you want to donate something other than ration, it should be utencils. People have lost utencils. If they have rations, they do not have utencils to cook."

Omar said the condition of the national highway is bad

with a patch of the road being washed away in floods.

"BRO is trying hard to restore it but there is a danger of landslides. For the moment, BRO has opened another route. It is a longer route but we have started getting supplies of ration and fuel from this road," he said.

Referring to the issue of telecommunication, he said there were concerns that services would be disconnected by telecom companies for non-payment of bills and pre-paid connections would snapped in the absence of recharge.

He said he had discussed this issue with the Union Telecom Minister requesting that those having post-paid connections be given reprieve of 15 days and those with pre-paid connections be allowed a grace period of five days with call facility even if they have zero balance.

"If there is a need to increase the time period, we will look into it." he said.

"We have requested the Telecom Ministry that if it is not possible for them to extend the term period, they could recharge the pre-paid mobiles by Rs 50 each and its cost will be borne by the state government because if mobile phones stop working, it will create problems," Omar said.

With regard to schools and colleges, he said the areas which were unaffected by the floods and those where water has receded can reopen. A final decision will be taken soon, he said.

On the meeting of delegation of state ministers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said they had had a "good" meeting but he was yet to talk to them because of telecommunication problems.