Expressing serious concern over the rise in manmade disasters especially along Jammu-Srinagar highway, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, President Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) on Monday urged the J&K government to provide immediate compensation and rehabilitation to the landslide hit families of Rambhan district. In a statement issued to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Bukhari appreciated the swift action of local administration that prevented loss of precious lives in the mishap at Chanderkot, Dalwas and Neera villages of Rambhan district where at least 40 houses collapsed or suffered huge damages due to landslide triggered by incessant rains on Saturday.The JKAP president observed that there is no alternative to development but the same becomes disastrous for everybody when it occurs in an unscientific manner. “The unscientific manner with which trees and hill side slopes have been cut on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway along with machine vibrations utilized for its widening are just some of these activities that alter pressure under slopes, leading to massive landslides in these area,” Bukhari said, while quoting reports of experts on the subject.He sought urgent help, compensation and rehabilitation in terms of cash, free ration, medicines and other essential commodities from the government for over 40 families that have got uprooted in Ramban district due to landslides and safe shelters for them abiding by advisories issued by the government in light of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The administration should also immediately identify proper shelters and facilitate shifting and accommodating of the rain affected families of other areas of Rambhan district too while strictly following the social distancing advisories issued by the health department,” he demanded.The JKAP president also remarked the stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway from Chanderkoot and Banihal that has got badly damaged due to incessant rains leading to suspension of traffic for the last three days need also to be repaired on war footing. “This arterial road needs to be made trafficable immediately in order to restore supplies of essential commodities to Kashmir valley where people are facing immense difficulties in view of the COVID-19 lockdown,” Bukhari remarked. He observed that the frequent closure of the road causes not just death and destruction but also gives countless misery and pain to the people of the Kashmir valley. “The government needs to act swiftly to make this highway mortorable at least during the prevailing precarious situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bukhari added. Demanding free distribution of ration, medicine and other essential commodities to landslide affected families besides those living under below poverty line category across both divisions of Jammu and Kashmir, Bukhari said the pending and advance wages be paid to casual labourers in J&K to fight the deadly disease in the region. “The J&K UT government must come forward to provide financial assistance and free ration and medicines to the BPL families, daily wagers, causal labourers, construction workers and other underprivileged sections of the society in these hard pressing times to combat spread of the deadly Coronavirus while maintaining the government imposed lockdown in letter and spirit,” the JKAP president demanded –(KNO)