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J&K CM Omar Abdullah announces relief package

J K CM Omar Abdullah announces relief package Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday announced a package of relief for those affected by the worst floods in a century including a Rs. 200 crore assistance for Jammu region and the valley and Rs. 3.5 lakh for the kin of those who lost their lives in the disaster.

Addressing a press conference at the airport, Mr. Omar also announced a financial assistance of Rs. 75,000 as initial instalment for those who lost their homes and for rebuilding them.

The ex-gratia for the kin of the deceased will include Rs. 2 lakh announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier.

Free ration will be supplied to the affected for six months which includes 50 kgs of rice and authorities have been asked not to insist on documents, the Chief Minister said.

Announcing a slew of decisions taken by the State government, Mr. Omar said a team of six senior ministers led by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather has been sent to apprise the Prime Minister of the situation in the State in the aftermath of the natural calamity.

Of the Rs. 200 crore assistance announced from the State’s distress relief fund, the Chief Minister said Rs. 100 crore will be given to each of the two provinces — Jammu and Kashmir.

“We want this to be paid in cash to the affected people like it was done during Uri earthquake in 2005 and Ladakh cloud burst.

“There should be not much of government role. Let people build their homes themselves,” he said and announced that cement and timber can be arranged from government depots and steel can be provided by the SAIL.

The Chief Minister has called an All Party meeting on Saturday to discuss the situation. “We will seek suggestions from other parties to improve the relief and rescue operations in the State,” he said.

Asking for setting up of insurance camps in the State for settling claims, the Chief Minister asked the Centre to direct the insurance companies to cover damage due to floods while deciding the compensation.

On death toll, Mr. Omar said no estimate could be given now because the situation is still fluid.

He requested the centre to clear the Rs. 22,000 crore ’Flood Management Plan’ proposed by the State government at the earliest. “This plan has been pending with the Centre for long. Now we request for early action on that,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the State had set up 137 relief camps in the Valley where over one lakh affected people were being attended to.

Mr. Omar said that medicines and disinfectants like chlorine, phenyl and DDT have been airlifted for supply in the affected areas to prevent any water-borne diseases.

“Clean drinking water is a problem. I have asked authorities to use the medicine liberally to reduce chances of disease,” Mr. Omar said, adding eight water filtration plans had been brought which will distribute drinking water.

He refused to give any time line for complete restoration of power supply. It had come down to 100 MW when water levels increased but now “we have reached 480 MW”.

Asked about the attacks taking place on rescue workers, Mr. Omar said “some people will never change” but gave an assurance that relief and rescue operations will continue “may be with more police and para-military personnel”.

He announced that the first batch of Hajis could leave from the State only by September 20. “We have asked the Haj authorities to allow other States to use the quota meant for Jammu and Kashmir. We can claim our quota towards the end,” he said.

– PTI