File photo of the Kashmir floods in which 300 people died last year

SRINAGAR:  The Defence Ministry has raised a bill of Rs. 500 crore for its assistance to Jammu and Kashmir government for carrying out relief and rescue operations during the floods that battered the valley last year.

The Defence Ministry was paid Rs. 500 crore by the Union government as the amount was adjusted from the Rs. 1602.56 crore assistance given to the state government from its share in the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) for dealing with the floods last September.

The state government was informed about the Rs. 500 crore bill by the Union Home Ministry through a letter dated February 6.

“The high level committee in its meeting held on 30.01.2015 … approved the following assistance — Rs. 1602.56 crore from NDRF subject to adjustment of 90 per cent balance available in SDRF account of the state. This includes payment of air bills for airdropping of essential supplies and rescue (tentatively Rs. 500 crore) as per actual, based on the bills raised by the Ministry of Defence,” the letter reads.

Over 300 people died and more than 12 lakh people were affected in the floods that devastated large parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar.

More than two lakh people, including tourists and non-Kashmiri labourers, were rescued and essential supplies like food, water and medicine were air-dropped in what the armed forces called “Operation Megh Rahat”.

The Centre had dismissed reports that the Ministry of Defence had raised any such bill against the Jammu and Kashmir government for rescue and relief operations carried out during the devastating floods.

“I have checked with the Ministry of Defence. No such bill has been raised. There is no truth in the reports,” the then Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami had said in October. The matter was first reported by a local English daily in last October.