JAMMU, Jan 22: Despite lapse of nearly two and half years, over 24,000 families, which were hit by the devastating floods of September 2014, have not been paid compensation for their damaged houses under the Prime Minister Development Programme (PMDP) mainly because of ‘slackness’ on the part of Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department in timely furnishing requisite details to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that soon after the worst ever natural calamity of September 2014, which hit entire Kashmir valley and various parts of Jammu region, financial assistance was announced in respect of damaged houses under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
Under Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund compensation at the rate of Rs 1 lakh for fully damaged Pucca house and Rs 50,000 for fully damaged Kacha house was disbursed among the affected people while as under State Disaster Response Fund an amount of Rs 75,000 was provided for fully damaged Pucca house.
As this amount was felt ‘insufficient’ by the State Government, a request was made to the Union Government for providing more assistance in respect of fully, severely and partially damaged houses so as to facilitate the affected populace to reconstruct them.
Accordingly, the Union Government released funds to the tune of Rs 1194 crore to Jammu and Kashmir under PMDP exclusively for the houses damaged during the devastating floods of September 2014 with the mention that this assistance would be in addition to the aid already provided under SDRF and PMNRF.
Under PMDP, the scale of Rs 2.5 lakh for fully damaged Pucca house, Rs 1 lakh for fully damaged Kacha house, Rs 1.25 lakh for severely damaged Pucca house, Rs 50,000 for severely damaged Kacha house, Rs 20,000 for partially damaged Pucca house and Rs 10,000 for partially damaged Kacha house was fixed.
Though the cutoff date for furnishing number of cases along with bank account numbers of the affected people to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was March 31, 2016 yet the Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department of the State failed to furnish such details of all the affected people within the stipulated timeframe, official sources said.
“Due to this, 24561 cases could not be forwarded to the NDMA as such remained without assistance for damaged houses under PMDP”, they said, adding “this grave mistake on the part of Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department was notwithstanding the fact that assessment of damages caused to the private property was conducted through revenue field functionaries and verified by the committee constituted under the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in each district”.
Of these 24561 cases, maximum 11505 belong to Srinagar district followed by 5830 in Anantnag district and 2850 in Budgam district. As far as Jammu region is concerned, 2511 cases belong to Jammu district, 832 Samba, 298 Kathua and 207 Reasi.
“The Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department is attributing denial of assistance to such a large number of victims to technical problems in uploading information on the website of NDMA on time and non-availability of account numbers of the affected persons, which was made mandatory so as to ensure that compensation amount gets directly transferred to the bank accounts of the flood hit people”, sources said.
“Moreover, the department says that in large number of cases the status of damage has undergone changes such as partially/severely damaged to fully damaged”, sources said, adding “though the J&K Government has made request to the Government of India to consider these left out cases by providing additional assistance over and above Rs 1194 crore yet no positive indication has been received so far”.
They further said, “this clearly conveys that no time-frame can be specified for providing compensation for damaged houses under PMDP to such a large number of affected people”.
It is pertinent to mention here that against Rs 1194 crore sanctioned under PMDP, an amount of Rs 1057 crore has already been released and disbursed by the concerned Deputy Commissioners through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and an amount of Rs 136 crore has remained unutilized during the past over two years.