Under fire from victims of the floods in Jammu and Kashmir for its perceived inability to tackle the calamity, the beleaguered Omar Abdullah government, however, received an endorsement from the Narendra Modi government, which informed the Supreme Court on Monday that the Chief Minister had “taken control of the situation” in the ravaged State.
In a written submission, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi said the Chief Minister and the State machinery were functioning from Hari Niwas near Raj Bhawan since the State secretariat was inundated.
Mr. Rohatgi said the 15 Corps headquarters of the Army was coordinating with the State administration.
The Army Chief was supervising and coordinating rescue-and-relief operations and visited the area twice.
The submission came even as reports from the Kashmir Valley spoke about the “missing” local administration and the anger among flood-affected people.
Expressing its concern over the slow pace of relief, the Supreme Court observed that top priority for the State government was to bring drinking water and medicines to the flood victims. The observation by a three-judge Bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice of India R. M. Lodha, came after Mr. Rohatgi’s submission.
The court also wanted the State government to make ex-gratia payments to victims for immediate life support. Mr. Rohatgi told the court that the Central government was “standing with the State government shoulder-to-shoulder and the Chief Minister is in control.” Mr. Rohatgi said rain had washed away forward border posts. “This is the time of maximum infiltration. Forces have to be diverted there and these are sensitive parts.”
The Bench pointed out that petitioners’ have contended that people were rescued and dumped without basic life support.
There were only a few health camps and banks have also stopped functioning.