rajnath_singhNEW DELHI: Ignoring attempts by some separatists to disrupt relief operations in Kashmir Valley, government on Friday asserted that its main focus was on providing succour to people affected by the worst-ever floods in 109 years.
“We have closed our eyes. We are not looking towards them (separatists). We are determined to provide relief to people, no matter how difficult the situation is. The relief and rescue mission will continue,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said at a press conference here.
His remarks came at the backdrop of reports that some separatists were trying to instigate people in the State to pelt stones at rescue teams.
Singh said the government’s main focus is on how to rescue maximum number of people and provide relief to maximum people.
He said of the 1,200 affected villages in Kashmir Valley, 400 were completely submerged under water and 1.3 lakh people were rescued by Army, Air Force, Navy and NDRF teams.
“This is the worst flood in Kashmir in 109 years. 1,200 villages in Kashmir and 1,100 villages in Jammu were affected by floods. In Kashmir, 400 villages were completely submerged while 300 villages in Jammu were completely submerged.
“Five districts in Kashmir and six districts in Jammu were affected. The Union Home Secretary is in Srinagar and is coordinating rescue and relief operations and trying to expedite the process,” he said.
Asked how many people were still stranded under flood waters, Singh said actual estimates will be possible only “when waters recede”.
Singh further said disaster relief funds of Rs 1,100 crore was with the Jammu and Kashmir Government and 90 per cent of this money was contributed by the Centre.
“I have told the Chief Minister for maximum utilisation of funds. The Prime Minister also said that there will be no shortage of funds,” he said.
Asked whether there is a possibility of postponement of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir till next summer, he said, “It is the Election Commission which will decide on the issue. If the EC seeks our suggestion, we will give our inputs.” (PTI)