NEW DELHI: As families and friends struggle for information about the whereabouts of their missing kin in flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has asked the State Government to post on its website the list of people rescued from different parts of the State.
Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami said if the list of rescued people is made public, many families will heave sigh of relief on being assured that their loved ones are safe.
“That is why we have asked the State Government to upload the list of rescued people on its website as early as possible,” he told reporters here.
Goswami said anger of some of the flood-affected people about delay in rescue team reaching them was justified but the disaster was “unprecedented”. “It’s a “huge tragedy” and the authorities were doing their best to reach out to as many people as they can”, he added.
“The highest authority of the land — beginning from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister — are constantly monitoring the situation and giving directions that all steps must be taken to ensure that whatever assistance required is rendered for rescue and relief of affected people,” he said.
The Home Secretary said the Central Government will provide the State Government whatever assistance they require.
“We are here to assist more than 100 per cent. You tell us whatever you need, we will provide you,” he said.
Goswami said that apart from rescuing marooned people and providing relief to flood-affected people, authorities are giving great emphasis on restoration of power connection in the Valley, particularly in Srinagar, and telecomunication network.
“We are trying our best. When light comes, there will be cheers. People will be able to charge their mobile phones and could connect with families and friends. The moment power comes, half of the anger will go away. So, this is a matter of great urgency. A lot of emphasis is given on restoration of power supply and telephone network,” he said.
The Home Secretary said work has begun to restore the Mirbazar power distribution centre which feeds the entire Kashmir Valley but is now submerged under flood water.
Goswami also said steps are being taken to bring Electricity Department employees from places like Anantnag and Pulwama, where the water level has gone down, for restoration work.
“State Government officials are also ensuring that no one gets electrocuted while restoring power lines,” he said.
The Home Secretary said wireless connection has been established between the Jammu and Kashmir House, located in Delhi’s Prithviraj Road, and the State Secretariat in Srinagar as telecommunication line is completely snapped.
“We are sending some more VSAT systems and equipments to help restore the mobile phone networks in the Valley. A few towers of Aircel (about 10-12) are functioning but those are not enough,” he said adding the army has also given a few satellite phones to State authorities.
Goswami said instructions have been given to civil airlines and Indian Air Force to bring back stranded people who want to come out of Kashmir.
He further said the situation in the Valley is better on Tuesday than yesterday as water has receded in many areas and many people were evacuated to safety.
However, he said, the water level is still high in Badami Bagh, Shivpura, Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar and Chandpura.
Goswami said the embankment of Jhelum was breached in several places and heavy duty pumps are being arranged to take out the water from some of the flooded areas.
He said arrangements are being made for supplying food and drinking water as there is an acute shortage of both and mobile medical camps are being arranged.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth said the teams of National Disaster Response Force and army were out in full strength in their efforts to rescue the marooned people.
Seth added more than 215 columns of army and a large number of NDRF units were on the job.
“The immediate priority is to rescue people and restore the communication links. Lack of communication is hampering rescue and relief works and disrupting normal life,” he said.
The Cabinet Secretary said the Department of Telecommunication is trying its best to restore some of the towers quickly.
“Our effort is also to reach out to the people and provide drinking water and food packets. We are also sending medicines and teams of doctors,” he said. (PTI)