Parliamentary panel raps J&K govt for inadequate steps on flood warning

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New Delhi, Dec 22: A Parliamentary panel on Monday rapped Jammu and Kashmir Government for not taking sufficient measures on the forewarning of the meteorological department about "more than normal" heavy showers during the recent floods and also asked the Centre "not to shrug off its responsibility" in re-building the flood-ravaged state.

The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee tabled in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha said the economy of Kashmir is mainly based on tourism and the rains and floods have destroyed the entire tourism industry.

J&K CM Omar Abdullah

"The Committee wishes to point out that the paradise on earth has collapsed due to the flood and the Government has to rebuild the paradise in order to attract tourists not only from the country but also from abroad.

"The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that a special Action Plan or a project should be prepared both by the state government and the central government, covering all the aspects of tourism while rebuilding the state," the 182nd report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs on rescue and rehabilitation in the aftermath of floods said.

The state government did receive the forecast that normal rain would be "more than heavy" but it continued for nearly six days, the state Government representative had informed the panel.

However, the panel expressed concern that the state government did not take sufficient pre-emptive measures to withstand the fury of the nature.

Reacting to the report, Omar said, "If the state government was sleeping, what were the central departments doing. Why did the Army not evacuate its personnel from the places that were submerged under flood waters? "If I have to be blamed for failing in my duties to stop the rain from coming, I accept it then," he said.

The panel also noted that since the state is "strategic and sensitive", therefore, it needs to be rebuilt without any procrastination. "The Committee is of the considered view that the central government should not shrug off its responsibility in re-building the state by taking the plea that activities concerning the long term rehabilitation programme fell withing the jurisdiction of the state government.

"The Committee, therefore, recommends that the central government should extend all support to the state at the time of unprecedented crisis," it said and also asked the Centre to extend "requisite financial assistance".

The state has asked for a Rs 44,000 crore package from the Centre for the task.

PTI 

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