This Article is From Jul 01, 2015

Home Ministry Flouted Norms in Paying for Rescue Ops During Flood, Say Officials in Jammu and Kashmir

Last year's floods, the worst in Kashmir in a century, claimed 300 lives.

Srinagar: Questions are now being raised in Jammu and Kashmir on whether the Centre had violated procedures by directly debiting Rs 500 crore for the relief and rescue operations from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

State government officials told NDTV that the bills for the operations should have been forwarded to the government, which are then cleared by a committee headed by the Chief Secretary.

"As far as I know, the Air Force has not raised any bill with the state government," said Vinod Koul, the Jammu and Kashmir government official who was in charge of relief and rehabilitation during the floods.

"We have to clear the bills and if state government doesn't have money, then we approach the Centre for assistance under NDRF (National Disaster Response Fund). But this claim was never received by us."

According to records, the state government had sent a claim of Rs 2,900 crore to the Centre under the SDRF. Documents accessed by NDTV show that the Rs 500 crore bill from the Air Force was not part of the claim. The amount however was diverted by the Centre from Rs 1,602 crore given to the state.

According to documents accessed by NDTV, the only bill the state government has received so far was from the army. The army has raised Rs 60 lakh for carrying out relief and rescue operations, which, officials say, is being processed by the state government.

On Monday, defence ministry officials had told NDTV that this is routine after any relief operation. The government needs to account for material, man hours and cost incurred by the Indian Air Force in sorties.

"This is a book debit, not a cash transfer," a defence ministry official had said, adding that the deduction is "generally made from the relief package that is subsequently announced."