HC Asks Centre To Submit Relief Policy For Flood-hit

4 September 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ishfaq Tantry

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the Central government to produce the policy for grant of relief to flood victims and also submit its compliance report on the Rs 44,000-crore relief package sought by J&K within one week. These directions were issued today by a division bench headed by Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar, which is hearing the public interest litigation on the floods of 2014, which caused havoc in central Kashmir, including Srinagar city, south Kashmir and the Jammu region. Earlier on August 19, the Centre had sought two weeks for disclosing the status of the flood relief package of Rs 44,000 crore sought by the J&K Government. However, as the matter came up before the bench yesterday, assistant solicitor general SA Makru, representing the Central government, sought more time to file the report. Granting his plea, the bench in its orders observed that the 'counsel appearing for the Centre will submit a compliance report on Thursday (next week). On that day, the policy for grant of relief formulated prior to April 1, 2015, shall also be filed.' The Central government revised the policy for grant of relief on April 1 this year but it is providing relief to the flood victims in J&K as per the policy which existed earlier. The court has now sought the copies of the old policy. Immediately after floods in September 2014, the state government had sought a 'special financial package' of Rs 44,000 crore to rehabilitate the flood victims. Official estimates say 2.61 lakh structures, including residential houses, were damaged in the floods. Besides, the J&K Government had also requested the Central government to release funds to the tune of Rs 1,947.20 crore under the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Under the State Disaster Response Fund, the state government had demanded Rs 75,000 for rebuilding completely damaged concrete houses and Rs 3,800 for partially damaged ones. However, a large number of those affected by the floods claim that they are yet to receive even this meagre assistance. Besides, the J&K Government is yet to spell out its 'revised policy' decided on April 4 for the payment of compensation to the flood victims.