Snowfall Aftermath

TNN Bureau. Updated: 11/7/2018 2:38:40 PM Front Page

J&K writes to Delhi, seeks help for agri, HORT losses

JAMMU: The State Government on Tuesday wrote to Central government and sought its assistance to compensate the losses due to recent heavy snowfall in the Kashmir Valley.
Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam has urged the Government of India to depute a team to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the damages/losses to the agriculture and horticulture sectors due to snowfall.
In a communication addressed to the Union Secretary, Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, the Chief Secretary said the extent of damage is so huge that the State Government needs the assistance from the Government of India to provide relief to the affected farmers.
“As per the preliminary assessment done by the State Government’s field agencies nearly 53000 hectares of horticulture and 9000 hectares of agriculture crops have been severely damaged and the tentative losses are estimated at over Rs 500 crore,” the Chief Secretary said in his communication.
He said under SDRF guidelines a meagre amount of relief is admissible on account of damages/losses to crops which is not sufficient to compensate the affected farmers. “Given the extent of the damage caused by the snowfall the affected agriculturists/horticulturists have to be given relief over and above the SDRF norms,” he said adding that the unprecedented snowfall on November 3 and 4 has caused colossal damage to the apple crop, apple trees, apple under packaging and saffron crop.
“In this backdrop, I would request you to kindly depute a team to the State to assess the damage/losses incurred by the farming community so that they can be adequately compensated,” said the communication addressed to the Union Secretary.
Earlier, the Chief Secretary called for devising a concrete action plan in advance by the district administrations to deal with the situation arising due to snowfall and inclement weather conditions during winters so that there is minimum inconvenience to the general public.
“The Action Plan should include requirement of machinery including snow clearance, provision of resources, stocking of essential commodities, setting up of control rooms for advance weather warning, keeping a stock of spare transformers and organising teams of SDRF so that the situation is tackled effectively,” the Chief Secretary said while taking a comprehensive review of the measures initiated by the administration for restoration of essential services in snow-affected areas of the State.
He received detailed update on power supply, road connectivity, drinking water supply, health services and other basic amenities from the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and all the Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir division including Ladakh through Video-Conferencing.
Regarding the massive damage to the fruits and orchards, the Chief Secretary said the State Government will approach the Central Government for deputing a team of officers to the Valley to assess the losses to the agriculture, horticulture and other sectors so that the affected can be considered for compensation over and above the SDRF norms. He directed the concerned authorities to undertake a preliminary survey for assessing the losses to the property and crops and provide immediate relief to the affected according to the SDRF norms as an interim measure. He further said that adequate funds under SDRF are already available with all the Deputy Commissioners and additional funds of Rs. 10 crore each will be placed at the disposal of the respective DCs by the Department of Disaster Management, Releif, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction.
Chief Secretary hailed the proactive response by the Divisional and District Administrations, the Power Development Department, PWD, PHE, Housing & Urban Development Department and other concerned Departments in dealing with the situation post snowfall.
Chief Secretary specifically mentioned that the Governor has complimented the commendable work done by the divisional and district administrations in meeting the challenges posed by the heavy snowfall with grit and alacrity.
Chief Secretary called upon the Divisional Commissioner and all Deputy Commissioners to pay focused attention to fully restore the power supply to the left-out areas and taking appropriate steps for repairing the damaged infrastructure. He also directed for conducting an inquiry, within 3 days, to find out the reasons for collapse of four electric towers of main transmission line which resulted in snapping power supply to some areas.
In order to replace/repair the damaged electric transformers and other necessary infrastructure, the Commissioner/Secretary PDD informed that an amount of Rs 5 crore has been released as an interim measure.
Regarding supply of essential commodities like food-grains, LPG, POL, Kerosene Oil, the Commissioner/Secretary Food, Civil Supplies and Public Distribution was directed to ensure adequate supply of these commodities and maintaining close liaison with the suppliers.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmed Khan while updating the situation informed that power has been restored in most of the affected areas and alternate arrangements are being made in the areas where main distribution towers have been damaged. He said entire administration has been geared and all necessary measures put in place to restore the damaged infrastructure, especially power, road communication, PHE, health services. He said the entire administration is working in a coordinated manner to ensure effective results on ground.
Commissioner/Secretary Power Development Department, Hirdesh Kumar, Commissioner/Secretary Revenue Department, Shahid Anayatullah and Commissioner/Secretary PWD (R&B), Khurshid Ahmed Shah were also present at the meeting.

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