Fetch officers from home on boats: Centre to J&K

Home Ministry tells state government to put list of rescued on website

Fetch officers from home on boats: Centre to J&K

The Home Ministry on Monday instructed Jammu and Kashmir to send boats to state government officers’ homes to get them on ground and also to put up a list of those rescued on a government website.

With the presence of the local administration in rescue work not in large numbers, the ministry has now asked the state government to take steps to get officers out of their residences where the water level has come down and get them engaged with the rescue operations. 

The water level in areas like Pulwama and Anantnag have receded and the Centre feels that officers residing in these areas can join the rescue work.

“If you have 15 feet of water outside your house, even if you are a conscientious officer, you will not be able to get out. Take boats to their residences. We need them on the ground. We can have a parallel administration only up to a point,” Home Secretary Anil Goswami told a select group of journalists.

With the communication channel collapsing, another problem faced by the authorities is the never-ending enquiries from people asking about the whereabouts of their families. To tackle this, the plan is now to upload list of rescued people on the state government website. The rescue workers have been asked to prepare the list and hand it over to the state government, state Planning Commission member B R Sharma was instructed by Goswami, who met him here on Tuesday. 

Sharma reached Delhi after the Home Ministry wanted a senior state government functionary to brief the Centre on the situation.

The calamity has also resulted in anger among a section of the affected, which Goswami termed as “justifiable” during a disaster. “Tempers will be high. People will feel agitated about delay in reaching them. That is natural,” he said.

Instructions have also been given to the Air Force making sorties to Srinagar not to fly back the aircraft empty and bring whoever wants to return. 

The Civil Aviation Ministry will appeal to private airlines to operate more flights to Srinagar to help in evacuation. The single-storied houses are completely submerged and there around 600-700 such houses in Srinagar. 

“The advantage of Kashmir is that most of the houses are three-storied. So even if the ground floor is inundated, the occupants can remain safe in the upper floors,” a senior official said. 

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