In the midst of receding waters in flooded Kashmir, allegations of favouritism in relief distribution have surfaced. There are some allegations, reported by a section of the media, that the ruling National Conference (NC) has appointed its workers to distribute the relief among the needy.
Nothing wrong with the cadres of a political party chipping in and helping the state in coming to the aid of the marooned people who have lost so much. The serious charge being labelled by some is that the party workers are giving relief to their own party cadres alone, instead of distributing it in a fair and square manner to all the needy.
These accusations, if true, have the potential of derailing the entire relief and rehabilitation efforts. And it is the responsibility of the state government, now emerging out of flood waters, to nip such behaviour in the bud. Also, to punish the guilty if some party workers have indeed indulged in such corrupt practices.
The floods that hit Kashmir on September 6/7 have been so devastating that even a fortnight later, the extent of massive loss is not clear.
Relief material has been pouring in from all parts of the country, whether it be Mumbai or Chhatisgarh, a state considered backward. The corporate world too is doing its bit and contributing to the relief effort.
The damage to infrastructure has been massive and according to first tentative estimates compiled by ASSOCHAM, the losses could be around Rs 5,700 crore in some sectors alone. This does not include the losses to horticulturists, and farmers.
The question that needs to be asked is whether any political party should be allowed to garner sympathy, in the hope of translating it into votes later, in this hour of crisis, by misappropriating relief? The answer is a resounding no because nobody can be and should be allowed to play favourites. The distribution of relief materials should be entirely transparent, and above board.
The weaker, the elderly, the sick and the children should be the ones to be given the relief materials first and foremost. There should be no hanky-panky in the relief distribution and it is very, very important to not allow it to become tainted.
Relief distribution getting embroiled in an unseemly controversy can affect the mindset of contributors and donors nationwide as they will be disheartened. They are contributing, not for one party or the other, but the needy and those rendered virtually destitute in the floods.