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J&K CM concerned about state citizens in Pak

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Last updated on: October 11, 2005 01:22 IST
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Concerned over the safety of passengers who went across to Muzaffarabad in the 19th Karwan-e-Aman bus on last Friday, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said contact was being established to ascertain the well being of the state citizens.

"Contact is being established through external affairs ministry with Pakistan embassy in New Delhi to know the whereabouts of the passengers who have travelled to Muzaffarabad from Srinagar in the last Karwan-e-Aman bus," Mufti told newsmen in Srinagar.

The Chief Minister said that given the magnitude of devastation caused by the earthquake in Muzaffarabad and other cities across the Line of Control, he is "concerned about the passengers, including some non-muslims who have traveled to the other side first time since the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service was started on April 7, 2005."

He said the government has approached the external affairs ministry for obtaining information about them through Pakistan embassy in New Delhi.

"The worst affected areas are Uri and Tangdhar," he said adding that 4597 structures have been damaged. The maximum 469 casualties have been reported from Baramulla district followed by 258 from Kupwara. "Several areas are still inaccessible and efforts are on to reach out to the affected people there."

The chief minister said government has started relief and rescue measures on war footing and tents, blankets, food and medicine is being provided to the affected people. He said people have demanded tents and blankets and he has highlighted this need to the prime minister when he called him on Sunday to know what was immediately required to meet the emergency.

He said chief minister of Haryana has also pledged tents and blankets for the victims of the tragedy and these are on the way. He said that since aftershocks are being experienced continually since the quake people in the severely hit areas are afraid of going into their houses and prefer to remain in tents. This has also added to the demand for the facility.

He said tents and blankets have already been provided at Tangdhar, Uri and Poonch but since the requirement is much more, these are being arranged for on war footing.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar