Serious questions are being raised over the implementation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Rs 8,000 crore flood relief package for Jammu and Kashmir. It was sanctioned by the central government after the devastating floods in 2014 which claimed over 300 lives and destroyed property worth hundreds of crores.
After the floods in 2014, then J&K Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu had submitted a proposal of Rs 44,000 crore to the central government for building flood management infrastructure and rehabilitation of victims.
Additionally, the World Bank had also allotted Rs 1,580 crore in 2015. It was sanctioned for building flood management infrastructure around Jhelum and Tawi rivers, strengthening disaster risk management, construction of roads and buildings and rehabilitation of people who suffered economic losses.
However, the state only managed to spend Rs 2.5 crore in 2015-2016.
Ejaz Ayub, a Srinagar-based economist and columnist, told International Business Times India that various allocations in the state budgets over the last three years for building flood management system have been unspent or fudged by state departments.
"Last year, the Flood and Irrigation department took up the work of strengthening banks and dredging but it came to the fore that they ended up removing sands from the healthy parts of the Jhelum river, which did more harm than good," Ejaz added.
He said that the same department had issued tenders for the dredging of Jhelum river thrice but no particular company was given the tender due to bias and corruption.
"Despite knowing the urgency of flood and disaster management preparedness, the concerned departments have not acted swiftly and it is a well-known fact that the fundings and implementation part is plagued by corruption and indecisiveness," Ejaz said.
Nadeem Qadri, an environmentalist and a lawyer who has been appointed by the J&K High Court as an Amicus Curiae (advisor) in a public interest litigation, took a dig at the successive state governments for failing to put in place an effective flood preparedness mechanism.
Qadri, who is monitoring the flood situation in Pampore, wrote on Facebook, "We have been requesting the successive State Governements from last 10 Years to take concrete measures for Environmental Conservation and Mitigation of Floods, nothing has been done on ground, all the work done by the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control Post 2014 has exposed them today."
Qadri said that the J&K High Court would again hear the PIL on Monday as an urgent matter and the issues such as incompetence of the state administration will be highlighted before the division bench.