New Delhi/Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on Sunday that he won’t celebrate his birthday this year (that falls on September 17, when he turns 64) and exhorted his well-wishers to instead dedicate themselves to relief work in flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir.
The statement came as over 1.84 lakh persons were rescued till Sunday evening by the armed forces and NDRF from different parts of the state.
Initial estimates by Assocham put the loss to Jammu and Kashmir due to the floods at a staggering Rs 5,400-5,700 crores, that exceeds 10 percent of the state’s GDP, with heavy damage to trade, hotels, restaurants, horticulture and handicraft, besides throwing the basic infrastructure of power, railways and communications out of gear.
Reports from Srinagar said relief operations across the flood-hit state were briefly hampered Sunday morning due to rains, which triggered fears but were resumed later.
Over one lakh people are still marooned several days after the worst floods to hit the state in a century unleashed a trail of death and destruction.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday proposed that boats be mobilised to send medical supplies to the people of the inundated areas of Srinagar, who find it impossible to venture out of their homes because of high flood waters.
“The Chief Minister has directed his officials to mobilise available boats and start something on an urgent basis. Meanwhile, I am arranging for accelerating the supply side, especially in respect of doctors and health workers,” Mr Vardhan said after returning from flood- affected areas.