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Eid brings no festive cheer in Kashmir valley as people struggle to rebuild lives

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The eid festival this season is likely to bring little or no festivity in the Valley of Kashmir, particularly Srinagar as unprecedented floods have washed away homes of residents, businesses have been destroyed, and life as a whole has been paralyzed. While it will take a couple of months to bring life back on track but locals say that rebuilding their houses, trade, and cleaning the city will be a long drawn process, and given the poor track record of the state government the Eid festival is unlikely to bring any cheer to the people.

For thousands of people in and around Srinagar this Eid is going to be a lackluster affair as their houses have been devastated by floods. In the markets there is no hustle and bustle , and there are few takers for sacrificial animals. Local traders say that sale of sacrificial animals has gone down by almost 7o per cent. A poor mason living in outer colonies of Srinagar which was badly effected by the flood said that he has come to buy cement so as to repair his house half of which was washed away. A large majority of people in his colonies have suffered similar fate, and some even worst, and there is no question of celebrating the Eid this year.

A number of villagers who have been badly affected further allege that government authorities have failed to to provide relief to the rural belt and are concentrating in the city. People also want that action should be taken against the officials who were responsible for causing flood in the city which has destroyed their lives. They also say that entire government machinery disappeared during this period, and this should also not be forgotten. Imran Khan, who lived in Bemina, and has now shifted to a village in South Kashmir says that he spent his life’s earning in building a house but it was shocking that he will be celebrating Eid without a home. Khan is now living in his brother’s house in Tangmarg, which was also built after the government relocated their village in floodplains of a nullah.

The effect of the floods is visible on the busy markets of Srinagar such as Lal Chowk, and adjoining areas which used to buzz with shoppers on eid but has been devoid of people this year. The markets wear a deserted look as most of the shopping malls, and markets faced destruction due to floods. The economic shock of the flood has been severe as large number of farmers, agriculturalists and orchard owners have also suffered heavy losses which has put a pall of gloom on their lives and families. The people in Kashmir are now looking towards the central government to make a major intervention, and ensure that relief and rebuilding in Kashmir happens in a transparent manner to bring some cheer to the people of Valley which turned into a hell during the flood.

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