On Flood Anniversary, Kashmir Bandh Today

6 September 2015
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Separatists and mainstream political parties have come out in support of the Kashmir bandh on Monday in protest against poor relief work exactly a year since floods devastated the Valley. The Kashmir Economic Alliance, an amalgam of various trade associations here, called the bandh to direct anger at the Modi government for making 'fake promises' on relief and rehabilitation. 'The State and the Centre have paid lip service to the victims of the floods. A year has passed, but the government has failed to release any money for the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims,' Showkat Chowdhary, chairman of the alliance, said. The Centre has released just Rs. 2,400 crore, though the previous State government proposed a Rs. 44,000-crore relief package. In view of the bandh call, the University of Kashmir called off all examinations scheduled for Monday. Hurriyat support Supporting the bandh, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who heads a faction of the Hurriyat, said, 'Even damaged embankments have not been repaired. India, under a planned manner, wants to break the backbone of the State's economy.' Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, head of another Hurriyat faction, said, 'The State government failed to compensate the flood victims and also failed to bring aid from the Government of India. The government decision to deny international aid to Kashmir clearly reflects the anti-people polices adopted vis-à-vis Kashmir.' National Conference provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani said: 'The PDP-BJP government has refused to show the bare minimum political will to rehabilitate and compensate the flood victims. We support the call for shutdown.' A few months ago, the Union government announced an additional amount of Rs. 1,667 crore, but only around Rs. 550 crore of it was earmarked for relief and rehabilitation, mainly for those who had kuccha (not concrete) houses. Hundreds of those who had their concrete houses damaged were left out. A total of 6,782 villages, of which 741 remained submerged for weeks, were flooded, affecting 18 lakh households, official figures say. Of the 21,485 damaged houses, 4,700 took a severe hit, but only 1,690 house owners have received compensation. Nearly 280 people lost their lives in the floods. The Centre is likely to announce a package on the first anniversary of the floods.