Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought a special rehabilitation package for the flood-ravaged State. Such a package was necessary to help the State to be back on its feet, he said.
“We look to you [the Centre] in this hour of grave crisis for all the required support in the second phase of calamity management in terms of rehabilitation of affected families both in terms of housing and livelihood, besides permanent restoration of public assets,” an official release quoting the Chief Minister said.
The CM sought funds for reconstruction of fully and partially damaged houses: “ … considering that the residential houses in Kashmir are built at a cost much higher than other parts of the country and in view of limited working season available before the onset of winter, it is imperative that the Central government agrees to the extraordinary funds for the reconstruction,” he said.
Compensation for agriculture and horticulture losses was also sought as was financial support to business units affected by the calamity. The Chief Minister also discussed the flood threat management programme and sought Central approval for a Rs. 2,200-crore project.
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said timely response to the alert had helped prevent the spread of water-borne diseases in the Valley.
He had also sought a report on damage to medical infrastructure in Srinagar.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who was in Kashmir to assess the conditions, said: “Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Army and civilian doctors, both from J&K and Delhi, we have been able to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases.”
The Minister, who was on his second visit to Srinagar in nine days, assured the State administration of the Centre’s support in reconstructing the damage to health infrastructure. After visiting Barzullah Bone and Joints Hospital, the Sri Maharajah Hari Singh Hospital, the G.B. Pant Children’s Hospital, the Skims Medical College Hospital and Lalla Ded Hospital for Gynaecology, all in Srinagar, the Minister said: “Except Barzullah, the ground floor-level facilities in the other four places have been destroyed by flood waters. Vital departments such as emergency, diagnostics, blood banks, etc. have to be rebuilt from scratch. In Skims, the radiology, ophthalmology, blood banks and entire OPD are gone. Similar destruction is visible in the other hospitals and need 100 per cent rebuilding.”
Skeletal services had been opened in most of the hospitals on the upper floors. “In most places I saw doctors themselves working on cleaning up the mess left by the receding flood waters. Local police constables were helping them, ” Dr. Harsh Vardhan said.
Till now, the Union Health Ministry has supplied 150 tonnes of medicines, 35 lakh chlorine tablets, 50,000 IV fluids (DNS), 50,000 Dextrose 5% fluid, 50,000 Ringer Lactate, 50,000 normal saline and 2,70,000 Oral Rehydration Solution sachets.