Par panel raps J-K govt for inadequate steps on flood warning
New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel on Monday rapped Jammu and Kashmir Government for not taking sufficient measures on the forewarning of the Meteorological Department about “more than normal” heavy showers during the recent floods and also asked the Centre “not to shrug off its responsibility” in re-building the flood-ravaged State.
The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee tabled in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha said the economy of Kashmir is mainly based on tourism and the rains and floods have destroyed the entire tourism industry.
“The committee wishes to point out that the paradise on earth has collapsed due to the flood and the government has to rebuild the paradise in order to attract tourists not only from the country but also from abroad.
“The committee, therefore, strongly recommends that a special Action Plan or a project should be prepared both by the State Government and the Central Government, covering all the aspects of tourism while rebuilding the State,” the 182nd report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs on rescue and rehabilitation in the aftermath of floods said.
The State Government did receive the forecast that normal rain would be “more than heavy” but it continued for nearly six days, the State Government representative had informed the panel.
However, the panel expressed concern that the State Government did not take sufficient pre-emptive measures to withstand the fury of the nature.
Reacting to the report, Omar said, “If the State Government was sleeping, what were the central departments doing. Why did the army not evacuate its personnel from the places that were submerged under flood waters?
“If I have to be blamed for failing in my duties to stop the rain from coming, I accept it then,” he said.
The panel also noted that since the State is “strategic and sensitive”, therefore, it needs to be rebuilt without any procrastination.
“The committee is of the considered view that the Central Government should not shrug off its responsibility in re-building the State by taking the plea that activities concerning the long term rehabilitation programme fell withing the jurisdiction of the State Government.
“The committee, therefore, recommends that the Central Government should extend all support to the State at the time of unprecedented crisis,” it said and also asked the Centre to extend “requisite financial assistance”.
The State has asked for a Rs 44,000 crore package from the Centre for the task.
The Parliamentary panel took note of a submission made by the State Government that compensation under laid down rules was far less than the damage suffered and also that the losses to the business and trading committee were not covered under State Disaster Relief Fund.
The committee also highlighted the apprehension of affected people of the State regarding compensation against damaged building, during the flood.
“It was brought to the notice of the committee that there were a number of buildings which were severely damaged and either started shattering or are on the verge of collapse and the owners of such buildings apprehended that they would not get compensation.
“The committee, therefore, recommends that the government should take into account the concerns of people whose buildings are in dilapidated condition caused due to floods,” it said.
The Parliamentary Panel also felt that states like Jammu and Kashmir are “not well prepared to combat natural disasters and such states should not be caught on sleeping mode at the time of disaster”.
On the failure of communication, it said despite having an early warning, the State had not enough satellite phones available which resulted in breakdown of communication system.
It also asked the Centre to formulate a comprehensive national plan with resilient system for better disaster management throughout the country, irrespective of the frequency of disasters in a particular area of region. (PTI)