Mon 22 09 2014
Srinagar: After failing to come to the rescue of the people who got stranded for days together in the flood waters in most parts of the Srinagar and other valley towns, National Conference leaders including ministers are now again visible but with a different design. This time, these people are eyeing the relief material like free rice, drinking water etc. announced by the state government for the people at large.
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“We had just finished dinner, when a local sarpanch rushed to our village to warn us that the water had changed course and had started flowing towards us through a drain. I grabbed my two children and called out to my husband, who was watching television in another room, and we ran out of the house,” says Afroza, 35, now at a shelter in a government school in Dahrun, 15km from the district headquarters of Anantnag. Afroza’s newly constructed home in this south Kashmir village crumbled before her eyes on September 6, even as strong currents took all her worldly belongings and tore through 46 structures, including 18 homes, in the area. Torrential rain that had started on September 3 breached the banks of the Jhelum on September 7, which caused unprecedented flash floods.
When Kashmir Valley was hit by floods the earlier this month, its unprecedented intensity and savage fury took everyone by surprise. While entire localities were inundated in the blink of an eye leaving thousands stranded and in grave danger, the administrative machinery (as expected), was nowhere to be seen. Unable to grapple with this humungous crisis, the State government called in the army to conduct rescue and relief operations, as besides ensuring defence of the nation, the army is also mandated to provide assistance to the civil authorities during natural calamities. However there is a catch- under the Indian constitution, the army is only expected to assist the civil administration and not take over its role or responsibilities.