Supreme Court asks Centre, J&K govt to focus on districts other than Srinagar

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government not to restrict its focus to Srinagar in the rescue and relief operations in flood-hit areas, saying the condition in some other districts is "worse".

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 15, 2014, 21:42 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government not to restrict its focus to Srinagar in the rescue and relief operations in flood-hit areas, saying the condition in some other districts is "worse".

It said the authorities must ensure that necessary supplies reach the last of the flood-hit victims with emphasis on their rehabilitation.

A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha reiterated that it was not treating the matter as adversarial litigation but said the type of focus Centre has given to Srinagar did not appear to have reached other flood-affected districts like Kulgam, Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama, Ganderbal, Baramulla and Budgam.

"The entire focus is on Srinagar. No focus is there on other districts. They are as bad as Srinagar and condition in some other districts is worse. I don't think effort (in other districts) is like what has been done in Srinagar," the CJI said after perusing the note placed by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on the rescue and relief operations carried out at the behest of the Centre.

The bench, also comprising justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman, said though the Centre has done a "wonderful job" and "so many things" were undertaken without any direction from the court, it has not focused on the rehabilitation of the victims.

"The focus should be on the phase-wise rehabilitation," the bench observed and added that "the first and foremost challenge is the survival of affected people".

The bench also took on record the grievances of the petitioners -- Bhim Singh, chief of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves and advocate Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi -- who disputed the Centre's claim.

They said there was a lot of gap between what the Centre was claiming and what the reports from the ground level were suggesting.

Taking note of their submissions, the bench asked the state government to "respond to the grievances highlighted" and posted the matter for hearing on September 18.