Airlifted People Make Scathing Attack On State Govt, Terms Central Forces As 'Saviors'

10 September 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Ajay Raina

Jammu: In a scathing attack on the State Government in general and local rescue teams in particular, the flood affected people, who were airlifted to Jammu from inundated areas of Srinagar alleged 'selective rescue operations'. However, family members, who are waiting outside Technical Airport at Jammu for the past three days to receive any information about their near and dear ones, also flayed the State Government for its 'lethargic approach' to save the lives of thousands of people, who were still trapped in flash floods in different areas of Srinagar. Many airlifted people said that thousands of Army, NDRF, Navy, SDRF and Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel along with helicopters and boats have been deployed by the Government to rescue the trapped persons in the flood affected areas of Srinagar, but due to lack of proper equipments they are unable to rescue people from interior areas, who are without water and food for the past around one week. They termed the central forces as 'Saviors' as these are the only personnel, who are rescuing the people from inundated areas in absence of any name of the Government. They also expressed their angst for not providing enough warm clothes and blankets to those who are perched on the top of their homes to save their lives and are facing harsh cold weather during evening and late night hours. 'In many places where water levels showed some signs of receding, locals were rowing boats and rescuing women, children and the old of selective community', a Government employee working in Police Department said while interacting with the Excelsior outside Technical Airport at Jammu. While expressing his anger, he said that the State Government was only making 'claims' that everyone will be helped but nothing was happening on the ground. 'I have been taken out after three days from Rajbagh area of Srinagar. But still there are people who are stuck and no help is reaching them. Where is the Government, civil administration and police? We are only looking Army and Air Force,' he said. Amarjeet Singh of Shutrashahi, Srinagar who was airlifted to Jammu late tonight alleged that rescue teams are particularly guided by the higher ups. 'I was denied help by rescue team volunteers to rescue my family stranded at Shutrashahi', he said, adding that 'even some section of people from particular community abused me of asking for help and said 'Hum Pehle Apne Banday Bachayan Gay (we will first save our people)'. Few people from Sikh community are being evacuated by Sikh youth volunteers and are camped in Gurudwara Bhagat Barzulla while were still trapped in various areas, he added. Taking dig over performance of State Government, he said that the assistance announced by Prime Minister of Rs 1,000 crores and other funds should be handed over to Central Forces, as all the State Ministers, MLAs, MLCs and bureaucrats are not trustworthy as they were sitting at safer places, without bothering about the lives of people, who are still trapped in flood affected areas of Srinagar. Tina Koul, an evacuated lady from Munshi Bagh, Srinagar said that the people at areas like Allouchabagh, Jawahar Nagar, Tulsi Bagh, Shutrashahi, Wazir Bagh, Raj Bagh, Sonwar and Lal Chowk are without food and water for more than four days. They are still waiting to get rescued, she stated. 'Critical areas need to be addressed first. The old, the infirm, women and children need to be evacuated as soon as possible otherwise the death toll may rise further in the time to come', she added. 'Central Forces including Army, Navy and IAF personnel are doing commendable job and I wish that they will rescue all the trapped people from the inundated areas in Srinagar', she added. She termed the central forces as 'Saviours'. An employee of Civil Secretariat said that situation in Srinagar is getting worse day-by-day due to 'casual approach' of the State Government. The people are still trapped on the roof tops of houses and are without water and food. Rescue operation should be intensified otherwise more casualties could take place, she added. Rajinder Puri, who was standing outside Technical Airport Jammu for the past three days, disclosed that his family members are trapped in Kurshu, Rajbagh for the last four days and no help has been provided to them. 'My family members including children need help for evacuation but no one is coming forward. The State Government has also failed to rescue them', he alleged. Some of the people hailing from other States said there is no way to reach the Airport in Srinagar as there are no boats or vehicles available. 'I was told that flights have kept planes ready to take people out of the State but how do I reach the airport? There are no boats or vehicles available', a New Delhi resident Niranjana Handoo said after landing at Technical Airport Jammu via chopper of IAF. Abhishek, who is also standing outside the Technical Airport at Jammu, told that his father Yash Pal, who is Accounts Officer in Police Housing Corporation is also missing for the past few days. 'I tried my level best to establish contact with my father and use to check all the vehicles carrying the evacuated persons outside this Airport with a hope that my father will be in the vehicles', he said in a choked voice. A lady said that the locals in Srinagar are selling the water bottles, biscuit packets and other food items at exorbitant rates and no one is keeping check on them including the administration, which was not visible at all in any area of Srinagar and seems to have taken shelter from the floods. 'A water bottle in Srinagar is of Rs 200, whereas a biscuit packet is being sold at Rs 100. I have to give out my gold ornament (bangle) to get rescued my family members in a boat', she said with tears in her eyes. 'I never expected that the people in Srinagar could do this', she added. On the name of rescue operation, locals carrying boats of Army are charging hefty amounts from the flood affected people, said Anil Kumar, an employee of Civil Secretariat. 'I along with 30 other persons paid Rs 1,000 each for getting rescued from the flooded area of Indira Nagar in Srinagar, which speaks about the total failure of the State Government. Another woman employee of the Civil Secretariat on reaching here from Srinagar said an Innova driver charged Rs 2000 per passenger for short distance of just six kilometers to Airport. 'This is nothing but brazen loot. The people have not learnt any lessons from God's severe wrath. They are making money from out of the tragedy. This is ridiculous,' she said and charged the administration and the Government for doing nothing for the trapped people. 'Only Army and Air Force are helping us. Without their help, we would have died,' she said.