Declare Kashmir floods national disaster: CPI-M


New Delhi:  The CPI-M Monday urged the government to declare the Jammu and Kashmir floods a “national disaster” and said the relief announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “insufficient“.

There was also widespread anger among sections of the people over the government’s decision to reject offers of foreign assistance to help the victims of flood disaster, the party said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders Sitaram Yechury and Yusuf Tarigami made the observations in a memorandum submitted to Home Minister Rajnath Singh here.

They said that they saw for themselves the devastation caused by the September disaster — the worst flooding in Jammu and Kashmir in half a century.

The condition of the people is really pathetic. In many places, no government or any other agency has reached till date to provide any help or relief.”

Referring to Modi’s announcements for relief and help, the Marxist leaders said there was “widespread feeling and anger amongst some sections of the people … that offers of foreign assistance to help the victims of this disaster are not being accepted by the central government”.

The CPI-M urged the government to immediately declare this a “national disaster” and take all the consequent measures to provide immediate relief and rehabilitation.

“The package announced by the prime minister is insufficient and the central government must come forward with a more comprehensive package, particularly for the rehabilitation of the people who have been completely rendered homeless and face a total uncertainty regarding their future.

“The business and tourism commerce has been virtually decimated in the state, particularly in the (Kashmir) valley. All of us know that tourism is a source of livelihood for lakhs of people in the valley.

“Measures must, therefore, be taken for revitalization of business and commercial activities while ensuring new employment opportunities for the youth.

“Much of the arable land has been devastated, cattle destroyed and all standing crops virtually destroyed in the state, particularly in the valley.”

They demanded immediate concrete relief measures for the farmers and adequate compensation for the loss of standing crops.

“This is, ironically, also an opportunity for the central government and the rest of India to display their emotional connectivity with the people of the valley,” the memorandum said.

“This government must rise to this occasion on the lines we suggest.”

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