A welcome move
The state government has decided to seek centre’s help in providing relief to the agriculturists from Kashmir valley who have suffered huge losses owing to the untimely snowfall last week.
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 recent heavy snowfall in the state.
A communication addressed to the Union Secretary, Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has been sent informing them about the extent of damage being so huge that the State Government needs the assistance from the Government of India to provide relief to the affected farmers.
The state government has in-fact mentioned that the preliminary assessment done by the State Government’s field agencies has assessed that 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 damage done is so huge that the relief under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) guidelines will make no good to the farmers and growers and if the government is sincere in its commitment to provide some relief then it has to be over and above the SDRF norms.
Jammu and Kashmir is a hilly state and a tryst with nature’s fury seems imminent once winter sets in here. The six month long winter season in Kashmir valley is marred by various difficulties which the people have to live with.
Though the people get some respite if the administration takes some early measures and plans according to the needs of the people. We have regions like Ladakh, Kargil, Gurez and various other regions that remain cutoff for almost six months owing to heavy snowfall and bad road conditions.
In addition we have people living at such places which are vulnerable to various winter vagaries and these are in need of immediate help incase weather takes a rough turn. However, all this is taken up by the state’s administrative machinery casually and normally we miss out on the meticulous planning that should have otherwise been a routine norm here.
It makes no difference to the administration as to whether it is headed by an elected legislator or run by a professional administrator, the administration should have a plan ready to execute to meet out the challenges that are thrown up by nature and that too untimely.
This time around also when winter arrived a bit early, the administration was caught napping with snowfall wreaking havoc with all the public services that should have otherwise been made available to the people. In some south Kashmir villages electricity is yet to be restored and other basic services too are being restored, albeit lackadaisically.
This calls for a wakeup call for the administration which needs to learn its lessons to get over such situations with ease.