The flood-ravaged Srinagar city has been divided into three zones to expedite the cleaning up and sanitation operations, an official spokesman said on Tuesday. "Considering the enormity of the clean up and sanitation operations in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation areas, the government has ordered that the Srinagar city shall be divided into three zones," he said. Senior officers shall be put in-charge of each zone to perform the tasks as may be assigned to them by the housing and urban development department, the spokesman said.
"The officers to head these three zones are secretary to government in higher education department Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad (IAS), Commissioner SMC G N Qasba and Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation Tufail Mattoo," he said. The spokesman said the housing and urban development department shall work out the details in this regard immediately. The special teams constituted by the government will have to deal with heaps of mud in flood-hit areas and garbage in the areas not affected by the natural calamity.
'Might is right' seems to be the rule of the game as relief distribution in flood-affected areas of Kashmir has been hit by chaos due to lack of civil administration on ground.
Scuffles between various groups of flood victims have been witnessed in Mehjoor Nagar, Rambagh, Jawahar Nagar and some other areas of the city over rice bags and other material being brought by relief trucks. "This has become a norm now. The stronger people get majority of the relief material while the weaker persons get a trickle," Naseema, an elderly lady, told PTI at Mehjoor Nagar. Various Sikh families taking refuge in the Gurudwara Shaheed Bunga at Barzulla Bagat have alleged large-scale irregularities in relief distribution by the Gurudwara management on Tuesday.
"While various Sikh organisations from across the country are sending relief material and financial aid to be distributed amongst the flood victims, the management has failed to deliver it to the actual flood victims" Preetam Kaur, whose house was submerged in floods in Allochi Bagh locality of Srinagar, said.
She alleged that the relief material sent by various Sikh organisations was being dumped in the houses of the office bearers of the Gurudwara committee and those of their relatives. "To monitor and keep a check on irregularities, some members of our team will stay here in the Gurudwara to monitor the distribution of the relief being sent by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee," Paramjeet Singh Chandok, a member DGMC, said.
While some local mohalla committees succeeded in orderly distribution of relief material, most of the places witnessed chaotic scenes.
"We have a group of volunteers who have been at the forefront of rescue mission right from day one of the floods in Srinagar. We have entrusted the relief distribution to them and it has been a smooth sailing," Ghulam Mohammad, a resident of Barzulla, said. The state government has also directed the employees of various departments to report for work but, so far, it has not been able to mobilise them in the numbers required to meet such a huge challenge.
The authorities are issuing regular messages on radio to report for work so that the relief work can be expedited. Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami has been monitoring and coordinating relief and rescue work in flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley for the last six days, operating from his makeshift office at Srinagar's Technical Airport.
Goswami, a 1978 batch IAS officer from Jammu and Kashmir Cadre, has been holding dozen-odd meetings with officials of the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and state government about the ongoing relief and rescue work. The Jammu and Kashmir government has set up a 24x7 dedicated helpline centre in order to trace people who went missing after the floods hit the state. A 24x7 dedicated helpline through J&K Connect Centre has been established at the ground floor of the office complex of divisional commissioner at Rail Head Complex, Divisional Commissioner (Jammu) Shant Manu said. "The main purpose of this J&K Connect Centre is to help in finding people who went missing after the floods," he said. The centre will be headed by Amit Sharma, special secretary to government, animal husbandry department in Jammu.
He will be assisted by a team of officers and staff for providing the helpline services round-the-clock, he said. A Facebook page with the domain name 'www.facebook.com/operationconnectjk' has also been created for the purpose, Shant Manu said. Apart from this, four 24&7 dedicated telephone helpline numbers have been started with the numbers 18001807049 (toll-free), 18001807050 (toll-free) 0191-2471522 and 0191-2471922.