Reg: Requirements for J&K Relief
by Justice Markandey Katju,
Chairman, Press Council of India
Former Judge, Supreme Court of India
1. Baby Milk – Milk is presently unavailable and is needed in packets or in powder form.
2. Purifying Chlorine Tablets in large quantities. These are required to put into drinking water, otherwise diseases will spread. Water purifying straws and bottles which can purify 1500 bottles of dirty flood water should be provided.
3. Medicines for preventing cholera and other diseases, which will otherwise inevitably breakout.
4. Food Rations – Presently no rice, vegetables or pulses are available. Shops have disappeared.
5. Edible Oil
6. Kerosene Oil
7. Petrol and diesel. – These are required as mobility is zero.
8. Dewatering pumps. – No such pump is visible. Many areas are still submerged with whole colonies under water or flooded.
9. Mobile phones or other means of communication with relatives and friends. There is still a communication drought.
10. Blankets and warm clothing. These are necessary as the cold weather is shortly going to begin.
11. Prefabricated huts for living.
12. Boats – Presently many private boat owners are charging exorbitant amounts. All these boats should be commandeered by the Central Command Centre and the boat owners paid by it.
13. Prices of water bottles must be fixed, as presently exorbitant amounts are being charged.
(1) A Central Command Centre for relief and rehabilitation needs to be immediately set up. This is urgently needed as presently the relief agencies though working excellently are uncoordinated in their work and this undermines their effectiveness. All relief agencies – whether of the Central or State Governments - should be subordinated to this Central Command Centre.
(2) Hourly bulletins should be issued giving in details about each locality, the people stranded, the efforts being made by the relief agencies, the needs of the people etc.
(3) Nodal Centres should be set up immediately in Delhi and at Srinagar Airport where people of India and foreigners can send aid. At present, they do not know where to send it. The mobile numbers of officials of these Nodal Centres should be widely publicized in the media and people should be told what is needed. A Single Relief fund should be set up.
(4) After the water recedes, medical personnel will be required as diseases may spread. Appeal for volunteers to do medical work should be made. Temporary hospitals and temporary toilets should be set up.
(5) Appeals should be made, widely publicized in the media, for aid from everyone. In particular, the Central Government or State Government may send an appeal to the Governors of the States to ask all people, Corporations, Educational institutions, Associations, NGOs etc. to send aid. Great care must be taken to ensure that the aid sent really reaches the needy people and is not diverted or misused as was done in Uttrakhand.
(6) After all the above is done and the water has gone, a proper drainage system must be constructed as rains will come every year. The previously existing drains have all disappeared as they have been illegally constructed upon.