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J&K govt declares Nov snowfall as 'special natural calamity'

Press Trust of India/Jammu 09 Nov 18 | 11:15 PM

A Shikarawalla clears snow from a boat during season's first Snowfall in Srinagar on Nov 3, 2018 | Photo: PTI

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday declared the heavy snowfall earlier this week as state-specific "special natural calamity" to streamline providing relief and assistance to farmers affected by the unexpected event, an official spokesperson said.

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The State Executive Committee of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) headed by Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam took stock of the extensive damage caused due to the intense snowfall on November 3 and 4 in Kashmir division, the spokesperson said.

The SEC approved notifying the snowfall as a state-specific-special natural calamity, he said.

On Tuesday, Subrahmanyam said preliminary assessment suggested that nearly 53,000 hectares of horticulture and 9,000 hectares of agriculture crops have been damaged and the losses were estimated at over Rs 5 billion.

On Friday, the SEC enhanced the relief amount from Rs 18,000 per hectare to Rs 36,000 per hectare for damage to perennial crops, the spokesperson said. It also decided to categorise apple as a perennial crop.

The compensation amount at enhanced rates will not exceed Rs 4,000 per affected farmer(s) having land less than one hectare and shall cover sown and planted areas only, he added.

The chief secretary also directed officials that Rs 100 million should be kept at the disposal of deputy commissioners for immediate disbursement as relief as per SDRF norms.

The SEC approved allocation of Rs 280 million for procurement of machines by the PW(R&B) department, the spokesperson said.

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