Declare floods a national calamity: Azad

September 07, 2014 12:41 am | Updated April 20, 2016 04:04 am IST - NEW DELHI:

As the worst floods in 60 years devastated Jammu and Kashmir, claiming 100 lives and displacing thousands just ahead of the Assembly polls, the Congress, which has shared power with the National Conference in the northern State for the past six years, has demanded that it be declared a ‘national calamity.’

“It is beyond the capacity and resources of the State government to meet the challenges of the situation and so the flood should be declared a national calamity,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

Speaks to Modi

Mr. Azad, who is camping in Srinagar, spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over phone to make this appeal.

He asked Mr. Modi to take immediate steps to ensure that those stranded are shifted to safer places more efficiently, suggesting that the Indian Air Force along with the Army be pressed into service for rescue operations as was done in Uttarakhand.

During the course of the telephonic conversation, Mr. Modi assured Mr. Azad that all possible help would be extended to the State in this hour of crisis.

Funds, Mr. Azad stressed, must be placed immediately at the State government’s disposal so that the rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations could be carried out effectively and in a coordinated manner.

Rahul’s appeal

Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, in a statement, appealed to the authorities “to ensure that relief and rescue operations reach those in need swiftly” even as he sent his “condolences to families who have lost loved ones, and those who have been displaced from their homes.”

The Congress vice-president also expressed his gratitude “to the brave men and women of our armed and paramilitary forces who are risking their own lives to provide relief to the people. My prayers are with the people of J&K.”

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