Kishtwar (Jammu & Kashmir), June 25: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today demanded a Rs 600-crore package from the centre for the earthquake affected Doda-Kishtwar belt of the state.
"We seek Rs 600 crore package for earthquake-hit families of erstwhile Doda district. The state government has already submitted the proposal for this package to the Union Government," Omar said addressing a gathering after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone of 850 MW Rattle Project here.
Two persons were killed and 69 others, including 26 students and three teachers, injured when scores of buildings were damaged in a massive earthquake in Doda and Kishtwar districts on May 1, affecting over 80,000 families.
The Chief Minister also sought special component for land compensation under Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan (PMRP), Phase two. Omar said large number of houses have damaged in erstwhile Doda district in the devastating earthquake besides severe damage to public infrastructure.
"We hope that the Centre would come forward and help the affected families to reconstruct their houses," he said. "Under the PMRP, the state was given special component for acquisition of land to construct roads under PMGSY. We request same component under PMRP-2," he said. Underlying the need for linking Doda and Kishtwar districts with the Valley for economic welfare and round the year accessibility, Omar sought Central funding for construction of Singhpora-Violo Tunnel.
"Construction of this tunnel is a cherished desire of the people of the area and they are looking forward to the Union government for financial support for the construction of this tunnel," he said.
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad highlighted the benefits of Ratli HEP and said it would enhance the economic activities in the area. Presenting resume of the backwardness of erstwhile Doda District, Azad said it was for this reason that during his tenure as Chief Minister of the state, it was bifurcated into three districts under a historic decision.
Azad also referred to the shortcomings of the belt in connection with accessibility and said that he had got a survey conducted during his tenure about the availability of road communication which was found to be only five per cent and lowest in the country.
"Though under PMGSY road connectivity of this area is being attended holistically, yet there is need of Rs 750 crore to complete the ongoing road projects", he said and sought the help of Gandhi and Singh in this regard.
He also referred to the recent earthquake in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts and sought philanthropic package from the Centre for the people of earthquake hit areas so that they could construct their houses before the onset of winter.