Srinagar, Sep 13 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today distributed the first instalment of compensation money among the victims of the August 11 Khundroo arms and ammunition depot fire incident.
Handing over the compensation cheques to the villagers of Sumbran, one of the three worst affected villages, Mr Azad told them to start repair and reconstruction of their damaged houses from tomorrow, adding that second instalment would be given after the construction work was begun.
About Rs 92 lakh worth cheques were distributed today in respect of 341 damaged structures of 150 households of Sumbran village.
The process of relief distribution in other affected villages would soon follow.
A survey conducted to estimate damages stated that 2150 structures, including 1450 residential houses, were damaged due to the incident in 13 villages around the ammunition depot.
The quantum of damage to property in all the 13 affected villages has been worked out at Rs 488 lakh.
In all, 3856 families comprising 24,506 souls were affected by the incident.
The Chief Minister said the administration had decided against giving money to victims of the ammunition depot fire in one instalment as most of them might prefer to keep the money and forget repair and reconstruction of their damaged houses.
He said this happened in many cases in Uri and Tangdhar after the quake. However, people who were given money in seperate installments reconstructed their houses.
The Chief Minister announced one month's free ration for the affected population and said subsequently 100 per cent compensation would be paid to those farmers whose crop was fully damaged or who could not harvest it due to the presence of unexploded ammunition in paddy fields.
He said his government would explore the possibility of recruitmenting 3 to 4 youth from each affected villages, in the police department.
The Chief Minister asked the district administration to complete distribution of compensation cheques within a couple of days.
He said timber, cement and CGI sheets would be stocked in the affected villages for easy availability of the people.
Earlier, District Development Commissioner said due to the personal intervention of the Chief Minister, money distributed today was received form the Centre as advance amount.