Just about a year ago, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed some of the most destructive floods in the state's history. The over-flooded Jhelum spilled into the state's streets overnight and ended up killing more than 300 people. It has been estimated that close to 1.4 million people were affected with an estimated loss of Rs 1 trillion in property damage and affected business.
According to the state’s minister for relief and rehabilitation, 6,910 km of road length, 559 bridges, 4,202 sub-stations, 3,063 Public Health Engineering schemes, 11,671 km of electric conductors and 6,466 other buildings and mega structures suffered damage from the floods. In the video above, a portion of Bhagwati Nagar bridge over river Tawi can be seen getting washed away by strong currents. Below, a startling clip shows the full extent of the floods as it sweeps away a crowded bus.
A year later, however, not everything has returned to normal. The previous state government had demanded a Rs 440 billion package to bring Jammu and Kashmir back to its feet but it’s been a year and a much smaller amount has so far been committed. On Friday, the state high court lambasted central government for not reaching its goal in providing the promised aid. In the wake of unfulfilled promises, the traders of Kashmir have called a shut down on Monday to protest against the People’s Democratic Party-led coalition government with the Bhartiya Janata Party.
Many locals also claim that the aid which had been meant for them was instead given to people from unaffected areas on the basis of political recommendations. Old Barzulla locality in Sri Nagar was mostly unaffected, but house owners still got shares from the relief funds because they had political connections. To raise the voice against government’s poor assessment on losses,major trade and political groups including Hurriyat Conference and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front have stepped ahead in support to the shutdown today.
One of the things that has outraged locals the most is the decision of the Public Health Engineering, Irrigation and Flood Control department to spend Rs 1.3 million on a half-marathon on September 13, rather than using the money for the welfare of flood-affected locals.