M A I N   N E W S

J-K flood fury Over 2,34 lakh evacuated * Water level recedes in Valley
Govt offices in Srinagar to reopen from Sept 18; yet uphill task ahead
Tribune News Service

Srinagar/Jammu, September 15
Eleven days after it was flooded, the state Civil Secretariat will start functioning in Srinagar, the summer capital, from September 1. As floodwaters have started receding across the Valley, rescuers have so far been able to evacuate over 2.26 lakh people from various areas.

The major challenge before the government is to tackle a possible epidemic outbreak and draining out water from different localities.

"The Army, IAF and NDRF have so far rescued over 2,34,000 persons from different parts of the state in the ongoing relief and rescue operations," said a defence spokesperson on Monday.

To restore the road connectivity in the state, five task forces of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), comprising 5,700 personnel, have been deployed in Srinagar, Rajouri and Akhnoor. The road connectivity has been restored from Batote to Bijbiara. The Srinagar-Sonamarg link has also been opened, while the Srinagar-Baramulla highway has been restored for light vehicles.

The Jammu–Srinagar highway remained closed for the 12th consecutive day today. The BRO has cleared the road up to Ramsu.

The decision to reopen the secretariat from September 18 was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in Srinagar. “The Cabinet decided that the government offices in the Valley would remain open on Saturdays and Sundays till Darbar Move,” said a government spokesman.

Government officials normally shift their base to the winter capital in Jammu in the first week of November. The employees from Jammu, however, have shown their unwillingness to work in Srinagar till the administration makes suitable arrangements for their food, shelter and safety.

The Cabinet thanked the Centre for its help in the hour of crisis.

The efforts of rescue agencies, including armed forces and the NDRF, NGOs and volunteers were appreciated, said the spokesman.

Mourning the loss of lives in the massive floods, the Cabinet expressed complete solidarity with the victims and firmly resolved to rebuild livelihoods, private properties and public infrastructure. Considering the enormity of the clean-up and sanitation operations in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation areas, it was decided to divide these areas into three zones and put three senior officers in charge of each zone for this purpose.

The housing and urban development department would work out the details in this regard immediately.

The defence spokesman said more heavy duty suction pumps were being airlifted from Jodhpur and Raipur. Sewage pumps from Delhi have also been dispatched to the Valley. Following the growing apprehension of an outbreak of water-borne diseases, the Army has decided to airlift 20 RO plants with a capacity to filter 4 lakhs litre per day from Hyderabad and four RO plants from Delhi with a capacity to filter 1 lakh litre per day to Srinagar.

As many as 30 generator sets have also been sent to Srinagar to augment continuous power supply in relief camps and field hospitals. Additional BSNL equipment was being dispatched to restore the communication systems in the state. So far, 2,451 sorties were undertaken by the helicopters and aircraft of the armed forces and 3,435 tonnes of relief material has been dropped by the IAF, said the defence spokesman.

The Army has deployed around 30,000 troops for relief and rescue operations, he said, adding, more than 5,08,000 litres of water and over 1,054 tonnes of food packets and cooked food have already been distributed in the flood-hit areas.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |