J&K flood: Katju calls for setting up of central command centre

Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman Markandey Katju on Sunday stressed on the need for a central command centre to coordinate relief work in flood ravaged Jammu and Kashmir as the agencies engaged in relief and rescue now were doing it in an "uncoordinated manner".

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 14, 2014, 22:51 PM IST

New Delhi: Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman Markandey Katju on Sunday stressed on the need for a central command centre to coordinate relief work in flood ravaged Jammu and Kashmir as the agencies engaged in relief and rescue now were doing it in an "uncoordinated manner".

During a meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Katju said the Union Home Secretary could head such a centre while the Chief Secretary of J&K could be second in command.

"(There is a need for) a central command centre which would coordinate the work of all the relief agencies, as presently these agencies, while doing good work, are doing it in an uncoordinated manner, thus reducing their effectiveness.

"I suggested to him (Singh) that with the consent of the state governmentt of J&K, the Union Home Secretary, Anil Goswami, who is presently camping in Srinagar, may be made head of this central command centre, while the Chief Secretary of J&K may be made its deputy head," Kajtu said in a memorandum to Singh.

The former Chief Justice said that in this way both Central and state governments will work in tandem and claimed that the Singh too had agreed to put forth the suggestion to central government officials tomorrow.

Kajtu also called for setting up of nodal centres in Delhi and/or Srinagar Airport where persons in India and abroad can send aid in the form of money, medicines, food, etc and where information regarding those affected can be sought.

"The mobile numbers of the persons manning these nodal centres should be widely publicised in media. The centres should also act as information centres where persons can enquire about their missing relatives or friends," he said.

Katju said that Rajnath appreciated him on his suggestion on the de-watering pumps for removing water logged in several localities and assured him that all possible relief work was being done by the Centre.

"He (Singh) said that as soon as he came to know of the calamity he had rushed to Srinagar to acquaint himself with first hand knowledge of the situation," Katju said.