A collective responsibility and collective action so natural in this situation is completely missing


Reaching out relief to the flood affected people is becoming an arduous task, not only for the reasons of poor connectivity and hostile topography. It is more due to lack of an initiative by the state government and the abject silence of the central government. Co-ordination remains missing between the two in a situation of emergency in transporting supplies to the almost cut off Valley where floods have played havoc with life and property and left a vast population in the throes of hunger, starvation, epidemics and chilling weather without a proper shelter. The primary responsibility lies with the state government, which has neither tried to garner maximum support from the Centre in aiding the process of transporting supplies and relief material to Kashmir nor got its act together two weeks after the flood, for efficient disbursement of the same. An administration that has been severely incompetent throughout the last six years even in a face of no emergency situation is completely non-existent when it should have been speeding up its action. It took two weeks for the chief minister to think of using the grains stored in government godowns and begin distributing these, though the process is too tardy and does not match the promise being made as complaints are being received from every quarter of no supplies reaching them.

A bigger mess is created by lack of co-ordination within the state government with the administration instead of going into action mode is still in the process of assessing the situation and making estimates of the losses and calculating the number of people affected. While this may be an imperative, the immediate need is to begin sending relief material to all areas that are affected and all areas where the rescued people are seeking refuge. No amount of impressive sounding announcements about creating 100 non-existent camps or delivering rations to the hapless people within a specified time will suffice if there is no action on the ground and a collective approach is missing. The ministers raising concerns of discrimination with their respective constituencies in the face of bureaucrats who appear to be twiddling thumbs till now may be factually correct but this is time to plan and act not constituency wise but on a collective basis. Blame game will only further retard the process of delivering rations and relief material. A collective responsibility and collective action so crucial in this situation is completely missing. 

Added to this crisis due to incompetence and unreliable road connectivity, is the convenient manner in which the central government has washed its hands off the problem, despite the court ruling calling for co-ordinated effort. There is no move on the part of the state government to seek substantial support from the centre in any form – from getting expert manpower to continuing the channels of transporting relief material through choppers and planes. The centre’s offer of Rs 1000 crore is simply a drop in the ocean of money required to bring Kashmir back to normal, besides the acute lack of manpower. The gaps are being filled in by voluntary efforts by religious and charitable organization as well as young passionate Kashmiris and many philanthropists from across the country and across the globe. Many of them are doing a commendable job but these efforts are too small in comparison to the enormity of the situation. Besides rather than the state and central governments facilitating the efforts of volunteers, the latter are left spending much of their energy in trying to fight the various obstacles of relief collection, transporting relief material and distributing it. The situation is becoming more and more hopeless and with every passing day any possibility of the state government waking from its slumber and the centre from shedding its politicized policy vis a vis the disaster that has unfolded in Kashmir is becoming more and more remote.