Srinagar: Centre today said the rehabilitation of the flood victims of Jammu and Kashmir has been delayed due to prolonged rescue operations following the natural calamity in the state last month.
“Rehabilitation follows rescue. When the rescue part is prolonged, when the rescue operation is more onerous, the rehabilitation gets delayed accordingly,” Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh told reporters here.
Asked if the present government at the Centre had been tardy compared to the response to 2005 earthquake, Singh said there was no comparison between magnitude of the two tragedies.
“I don’t think there is any comparison. This is an unequal comparison. The magnitude of devastation caused by the floods is many times that of the earthquake. The kind of response by the present government is unprecedented to floods,” he added.
The Minister said there was no deliberate delay in providing compensation to the flood victims before the onset of winter.
“The process is being followed and it will be done sooner than later,” he said.
Singh said dealing with the aftermath of a calamity is a three-phased progress and in normal practice, the rehabilitation stage will come only after the relief phase is over.
“When the rescue is only a day-long, the rehabilitation goes on immediately. The first phase is rescue, then relief and rehabilitation. We are, I may say with responsibility, still in the relief,” he said.
Asked about the state government’s Rs 44,000 crore memorandum of losses to the Centre, Singh said a decision on it will be taken in due course of time.
“There are some administrative procedures to be followed and it will happen in due course of time,” he said.
In response to another question, the Minister said the compensation for flood victims will be announced before the onset of the winter.
“Certainly. Everybody is on work… nobody is sitting
idle. But the assessment has to be done before it is actually handed out. The things are moving in a sequential manner,” he said.
Asked if Prime Minister Narendra Modi would announce a package for flood-affected people of the state during his visit tomorrow, Singh said it was not appropriate for him to speak on behalf of the Prime MInister.
He rejected suggestions that Modi was visiting the valley with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.
“If there were elections, should he not come. And if he had not come, then there would be criticism that why he did not come,” he added.
He said the Prime Minister’s visit has not been scheduled keeping any particular section or community in mind.
“He was here few days before the Eid also. Insha’ Allah, he will come again on Eid next year,” the minister said.
Saying that it is a good thing that he will come here and spend the Diwali in the valley, Singh said “this is happening perhaps for the first time in Independent India”.
He said the Centre is very much concerned about the flood victims of the state and the Prime Minister has been personally receiving briefings about the situation on day to day basis.
“His visit tomorrow proves how much concerned he is about people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Singh, however, did not reveal the details of the Prime Minister’s visit.
“You will get the details from the administration later today or tomorrow morning,” Singh said.