Omar hopes PM will accept relief package proposal

Tosamaidan (J&K):  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today expressed hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would accept the package proposal submitted by the state to help in the rehabilitation of the flood-affected people and make an announcement in this regard on his Diwali visit tomorrow.

“We have submitted a package of about Rs 44,000 crores for some relief to the flood-affected people and we hope that if the PM is coming, and significantly coming on Diwali, we hope that this package is going to be accepted,” Omar told reporters here.

The Chief Minister said he did not want to get into a political debate over the timing of the Prime Minister’s visit as Modi was coming to express solidarity with the people of the state.

“The PM is coming on Diwali. I do not want to get into any sort of political debate on this issue by undermining this visit. The fact is that he is coming, he says he is coming to express solidarity with the flood-affected people of Jammu and Kashmir. As I said, I hope that his visit means that the package is going to be accepted and announced,” Omar said.

He said the relief of Rs 75,000, given by the state government to those whose houses were fully damaged due to the floods, was not an “absolute number” and the state would provide more once the Centre announces a package.

“Rs 75,000 is not an absolute number. I have always said that Rs 75,000 is a starting point. Nobody has said that this will be be-all and end-all.

“Please understand that we have projected Rs 9 lakh to Government of India for fully damaged structures and not Rs 75,000. Rs 75,000 is only to help people in these few months. We will get more money from GOI. Don’t worry,” he said.

As to the army’s criticism of the state government in the matter of renewal of the lease of a firing range in Jammu, Omar said the problem arose because the army wanted all such issues to be settled at one go, which was not possible.

“It is a slightly complicated issue. Basically, we were in the process of exchanging land in Jammu for Jammu airport for which they (army) were given alternative land in the Sunjwan area of Jammu. Now, at some level in the army, a decision was taken that they did not want to take the Sunjwan-airport exchange as a standalone issue.

“They wanted all the army land issues to be brought under one umbrella and dealt with together. The moment that was done, then the field range issues came under one umbrella and we were not able to deal with it as a standalone issue,” he said.

The chief minister said the moment the army starts dealing with these land issues as standalone issues, the government would have no problem.

“The moment the army starts dealing with these land issues as standalone issues – the airport-Sunjwan issue separately, the field firing range separately, Gulmarg and Sonamarg separately, we will have no problem.

“The problem arose because somebody decided that they wanted all army land issues to be settled at one go, which was not possible,” Omar said.

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