New Delhi/Jammu: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to explain what relief and rescue measures have been undertaken in flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir.
The apex court directed the Centre to reply by Monday and also to consider suggestion of forming unified agency for coordinating rescue operations in the state.
Reportedly, Attorney General, who was appearing for the Centre, told the highest court that a committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is overseeing and coordinating rescue operations and armed forces' operations is in full swing.
Relief efforts have been stepped up as authorities said that over 1,30,000 people have been rescued so far, with the death toll gone beyond 200.
The Indian Army has deployed around 30,000 troops for rescue and relief operations - 21,000 in Srinagar region and 9,000 in Jammu region.
Several airlines too have been flying people out from Jammu and Kashmir, without any charges.
Air India and other carriers flew over 500 passengers, including about 200 engineering students, here from Srinagar and Leh and carried tonnes of relief materials to the state.
GoAir too flew a flight from Leh to Delhi bringing 151 stranded students of National Institute of Technology (NIT) without any charge, while Air India brought back 122 passengers including 44 NIT students hailing from Andhra Pradesh.
As DGCA asked the airlines to cap total fares including taxes on Srinagar-Delhi and Leh-Delhi sectors at Rs 2,800 and Rs 3,000 respectively, SpiceJet came out with special fares for travel out of Srinagar to various parts of the country including Jammu, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.
‘Not enough done’
Despite all the efforts from the NDRF and Army, locals feel that enough is not being done in the rescue operations. Several people are still missing in the submerged colonies in Srinagar.
Locals are desperately looking for a Sikh woman who is believed to have drowned five days ago, and the body of another Sikh man was found only two days ago.
Although nobody in the locality knew her name, they have other information about her.
"The woman was the tenant in the house of one Pritam Singh, who works with J and K Bank in Jammu. Her husband was away in Pahalgam," says one Sukhwinder Kaur who along with her husband was discussing with other locals about the fate of the woman who they believe also drowned.
When the water levels were rising, her landlady vacated the house and asked her also to leave. But since her husband was away, she decided to stay put in the locality and moved to the neighbouring house of Gagan, according to Sukhwinder and others.
She also knows that the "deceased" woman has two sons who study outside Jammu and Kashmir but there is no consensus among them over the place. Some of them say they study in Delhi but some others say Chandigarh.
However there is unanimity among them about one thing. "Enough was not done by the state administration" in terms of rescue and relief.
They feel that the woman and the other Sikh man could have been saved if the administration had acted in time.
Communal harmony, refuge for people
A new face of communal harmony can be seen in the otherwise volatile state as the Jama Masjid in Hyderpora area has turned into a major relief center for the flood-affected victims, housing hundreds of people, including women and children.
A number of Hindus, who had come from outside the state for work, are also taking shelter here.
The inmates of this camp at the mosque, which remained unaffected by the floods, have come from various parts of the Valley.
Jammu-Srinagar highway remains closed for traffic
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the ninth consecutive day on Friday due to landslides and sinking of road at various places.
The traffic was suspended on the 300-km long Highway due to landslides, washing of road patches and flooding at various places on September 4.
Hundreds of passenger and commercial vehicles were stranded on the Highway at various place in Banihal, Ramban, Batote, Kud, Patnitop, Chenani, Udhampur and Jammu due to closure of the road, police officials said.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has intensified operations to clear the Highway as soon as possible, they said, adding BRO pressed in service its men and machines and launched a massive clearance and repair operation to reopen the Highway for traffic.
Authorities were focusing more on reopening of the Highway so that more rescue material could reach Kashmir by road.
20 light motor vehicles carrying relief material from Jammu are yet to reach the Kashmir Valley.