PM Narendra Modi's Rs.745 crore falls short of Kashmir's expectations

Srinagar: Political parties and the common man in Jammu and Kashmir Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have announced a larger relief package during his day-long visit to the state instead of Rs.745 crore.

Naeem Akhtar, chief spokesman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), told IANS here: "What Modi announced yesterday (Thursday) is actually an interim relief of Rs.745 crore and not the package everybody here had in mind."

"This is not a relief and rehabilitation package. The real relief and rehab package has to be much larger, which should be all-encompassing." "The Prime Minister has announced relief for damaged homes and hospitals, which in itself means the real thing should now follow,. he added"

Devender Rana, a senior leader of the ruling National Conference, told IANS: "...the goodwill generated by Modi by coming here on Diwali can be translated into permanence by sanctioning the relief and rehabilitation package submitted by the state to the central government much before the onset of winter here."

The Congress for understandable reasons said the visit was politically motivated with an eye to the forthcoming assembly elections. Ali Muhammad Bhat, a Congress leader, said: "The prime minister came for a photo ops session which went well so far as the intention of adding some seats to his party's kitty is concerned."

"There is nothing like a relief and rehabilitation package in Modi's announcements as we had been given to understand by the media on the eve of this visit," said Bhat, a former legislator. Political parties apart, the common man here does not seem to be enthused by Modi's announcement.

"Rs.745 crore is not what we expected. We thought the package would be much larger and would be aimed at rehabilitating the people and their livelihoods. That has not happened so far," said Ali Muhammad Dar, 54, a businessman here.

Others say perhaps the state government and political parties have not been able to convince Modi that he needs to move beyond emotional integration with the people affected by the recent floods. Nisar Hussain, 63, said: "We had been told he would visit some flood-ravaged areas in the city. That would give him some idea about what has happened here."

"Perhaps the state government and the mainstream politicians could not convince the Prime Minister to move out personally and see what is happening to the flood affected families," said Hussain, a retired engineer. Modi, however, made it clear that the relief announced by him is in addition to what would finally be announced for the relief and rehabilitation.

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