New Delhi, Sep 19: Minister of state for Culture and Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik Friday said the ministry has given Rs.100 crore as a special assistance for reconstruction of damaged infrastructure in flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir. “We are the first ministry to allocate money to flood-affected Jammu and Kashmir. The money would be used for reconstruction of damaged hotels,” said Naik at a conference highlighting the achievements of the ministry during his 100-day charge.

Parvez Dewan, tourism secretary returned from the valley Thursday after making an assessment of the damage caused and actions to be taken to restore tourist activities in Srinagar that has been affected by floods. “Government assets have been damaged, but it is the private-sector that has been worst affected by the floods. The private hotels and shops have been completely submerged,” Dewan told IANS.

Dewan assessed the situation and realised that water had entered some hotels up to the first floor. The blankets, carpets and important documents have been damaged. “They have to be back in the business. We have to find ways to bring them (businessmen) back into action. We don’t want to miss the Durga Puja rush,” Dewan said.

He said “what has been miraculous” was that some houseboats were not damaged because they stayed afloat when the water level increased. “Some have turned over, many have lost carpets and utensils. But we hope everything will be fine soon,” he added.