Centre pays Rs 26.7 crore to Kashmir ammo depot fire victims

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Srinagar, Oct 27 (UNI) The Centre has paid the entire amount of Rs 26.7 crore to the Jammu and Kashmir government for distribution among victims of a devastating fire in the Army's biggest ammunition depot at Khundru in Anantnag district on August 11 this year in which 20 people were killed, several wounded and hundreds rendered homeless.

This was stated at a high-level meeting between Defence Minister A K Antony and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here this afternoon.

The security situation in the state and issues related to Khundru rehabilitation, vacation of government and private accommodation by the Army and para-military forces and revision of rentals for land and orchards came up for discussions at the meeting.

With regard to the compensation for the losses to residential houses and crops following the incident, the Defence Ministry has approved and paid the entire amount of Rs 26.7 crore projected by the state government.

The money would be distributed among the victim families within a fortnight, the meeting was told.

The compensation was on account of ex-gratia relief for deaths and injuries caused by the fire, loss or injury to livestock and poultry birds, damage to houses, other structures, fruit and agriculture crop and loss to merchandise besides reimbursing the money spent in organising relief camps and paying to shopkeepers and labourers not able to work during a particular period.

The Defence Ministry had increased the ex-gratia amount to the victims from Rs 10 crore to Rs 26.75 crore.

Concerned over the loss of means of livelihood and property due to the fire, the Defence Ministry had released Rs 10 crore as an interim assistance to the Jammu and Kashmir government on August 28 to provide relief to the people.

The Defence Ministry expressed the hope that the Jammu and Kashmir government would take urgent measures in disbursing the relief amount to the affected people.

Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, state Chief Secretary C Phunsog, Financial Commissioner, Home, B R Kundal, Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda, Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), M L Kumawat, MHA Joint Secretary, Mitali Sen, XV and XVI Corps GoCs, Lt Gen A S Sekhon and Lt Gen Tej Sapru and senior officers of para military forces, the Intelligence Bureau, the Special Services Bureau and the civil administration attended the meeting here.

UNI

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