Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah directed the Border Roads Organisation to clear the Manali-Leh highway within next three days and asked the officials engaged in relief work to ensure that procedural formalities do not delay the operation. The highway which got swept away by flash floods triggered by a cloudburst on Friday is one of the two road links between the 'cold desert' and other parts of the country.
The chief minister who reached Leh on Monday morning, second time since cloudburst and flash floods hit the region on Friday night, asked the officials to ensure quick restoration of public services and rehabilitation of the affected families in Leh and nearby areas. Omar who was accompanied by a team of administrative secretaries, heads of the departments and Chief Engineers, visited various places in Leh town and its periphery to assess the requirements for restoration of utility services.
The CM reviewed the supply of essential commodities including petroleum products and directed the IOC authorities to ensure full supply of fuel to the public service rendering departments to enable them to reach out to the people in the affected areas. The state government will bear the cost of the fuel, he added. He authorised the Commissioner and Secretary Planning and Development Departments, who is also the Administrative Secretary for Ladakh Affairs, to release the necessary funds wherever required for restoring essential services in the areas hit by the cloudburst and torrential rains.
He said officials should ensure that procedural formalities should not delay relief work. Omar later met the BRO Chief Engineer and directed him to clear the Leh-Manali Highway within three days. He was informed that that Kargil-Leh portion may take some more time as several bridges got washed away in the floods. The CM has also instructed the ministers of his cabinet to avoid visiting the affected areas as it will divert attention from the ongoing relief works.
A programme should be initiated to help in speedy rehabilitation of the affected people before the onset of winter, Omar told the officials. Omar met the injured and families of the affected people and assured them all possible help from the state government. He promised help in rehabilitation of survivors and assured of best medical treatment to the injured. "The people of the entire state are with you in this hour of grief and everything possible will be done for the restoration and rehabilitation of the affected families," he told them.