Kashmir flood victims feel neglected as they try to rebuild lives in India's north

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By South Asia correspondent James Bennett

Residents in India's northern state of Kashmir are still trying to rebuild their lives almost two years after deadly floods swept through the region.

The Indian government is facing accusations it has neglected victims of the floods, which killed more than 400 people in September 2014.

Towns along the banks of Kashmir's river Jhelum host factories that shape the region's willow trees into cricket bats, but the industry has been left devastated.

Bat maker Mukhtar Ahmed employed six people in his small factory.

"Almost every bat maker lost 30 to 50 per cent of his profits because of the floods," Mr Ahmed said.

"We tried to save as much as we could, but we lost a lot of bats in the floods."

Mr Ahmed said he did not receive any support from the Indian government and neither did other bat makers.

"We suffered a huge amount of losses," he said.

"The industry lost billions of rupees, but we've received no help from the government."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced $US12 billion ($16.7 billion) for post-flood rebuilding and development in Kashmir.

Though frustrated, Kashmiris have warned that without decent prospects, people would again embrace separatists' calls for independence.

In Indian-administered Kashmir there is deep resentment towards a government seen as more preoccupied with controlling the region instead of helping the region.

India and Pakistan both claim the area and each controls parts of it, but the independence movement remains a serious force.

Professor Shakeel Qalander, from Kashmir's Centre for Social Studies, said the money promised by Mr Modi did not impress Kashmiris, who have heard similar promises before.

"The same scheme is being rehashed prime minister after prime minister, with some bucks, and we are in fact being told that this money is coming for you," Professor Qalander said.

He said economic assistance would alleviate the threat of violence from separatists.

"You have growing unemployment and that will definitely frustrate youngsters," he said.

"You don't have any opportunity for absorption in employment.

"If you have economic development that will take care of our educated youth, but again it is the political [will] to do that needs to be there."

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Party spokesperson Junaid Mattu said without jobs, the regions youth would more easily succumb to separatists call to arms and argued India must do more than just pump money into the region.

"Today a very big number of educated Kashmiri young men are resorting to militancy again, picking up the gun," Mr Mattu said.

"Everybody wants peace, reconciliation and resolution.

"We also know that there will be no peace and reconciliation unless there is political engagement, unless there is a sense of inclusiveness in the psyche of the Kashmiri youth."

AUDIO: Indian government criticised for lack of aid to victims of heavy floods in Kashmir (AM)

Australian Broadcasting Corporation