Valley hopes for early release of funds

Updated - November 16, 2021 07:04 pm IST

Published - October 25, 2014 04:13 am IST - SRINAGAR

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kashmir evoked mixed response in the State, with separatists calling for a shutdown, the Congress holding protests and other political parties and civil society groups hoping for a translation of this “symbolic gesture” into real financial help.

“It was a great symbolic gesture to spend an auspicious day in Kashmir and we are very hopeful that it will translate into an early release of the financial package that we have sought,” Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told The Hindu .

Mr. Abdullah said the Rs. 750 crore released on Thursday came from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and it had nothing to do with the loss memo of Rs. 44,000 crore submitted by the State government. “There are these rumours that I am upset at the direct help announcement made by the Prime Minister and they are completely wrong. That is how the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund works and this is the best way,” Mr. Abdullah said. “When our loss memo is approved, the modalities of it will be discussed.”

The People’s Democratic Party chief spokesperson, Nayeem Akhter, also called Mr. Modi’s Diwali visit a “symbolic gesture” and said it would mean something only when it translates into help for the flood-ravaged State.

“Much is not apparent about Mr. Modi’s visit but we hope that he went back with a greater appreciation of the losses and demands after meeting a cross section of the people. We hope for a speedy package.”

This was the Prime Minister’s second visit to the Valley since the floods. He had earlier visited the State on September 7 to assess the situation.

“I am an optimistic man and I would still like to wait to see what he will announce,” said former president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mubeen Shah. “If Mr. Modi is sincere about helping Kashmir after the calamity, he should do what was done in Uttarakhand and Bhuj. Symbolism is fine up to a point, but people need real help.”

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